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Rupee Rouble Roulette: India buys oil from Russia and pays back in dirhams



Russia is banking, no pun intended, on its friends – UAE and India – to brace itself from the tightening noose of sanctions from Western countries in the trail of its continued war on Ukraine.

While India has continued to do oil imports and trade with Russia, the latter has started to route payments through the UAE dirham, according to a Reuters report.

Russia is seeking payment in dirhams for oil exports to some Indian customers, three sources said and a document showed, as Moscow moves away from the US dollar to insulate itself from sanctions by America and its allies since the invasion of Ukraine began in late February.

An invoice seen by Reuters shows the bill for supplying oil to one refiner is calculated in dollars while payment is requested in dirhams.

Russian oil major Rosneft is pushing crude through trading firms including Everest Energy and Coral Energy into India, now its second biggest oil buyer after China.

Western sanctions have prompted many oil importers to shun Moscow, pushing spot prices for Russian crude to record discounts against other grades.

That provided Indian refiners, which rarely bought Russian oil due to high freight costs, an opportunity to snap up exports at hefty discounts to Brent and Middle East staples. Moscow replaced Saudi Arabia as the second biggest oil supplier to India after Iraq for the second month in a row in June.


Payments in rupees from India is being funneled to Russia through the UAE exchange route.

The few Indian businesses and banks are taking a leaf from an old trade playbook they had relied upon during the US embargo on Iran. At least two Indian refiners have already settled some payments in dirhams, the sources said, adding more would make such payments in coming days.

India, also maintaining a neutral position, recognises insurance cover by Russian companies and has offered classification to ships managed by a Dubai-based subsidiary of Moscow’s top shipping group to enable trade.

India’s central bank last week introduced a new mechanism for international trade settlements in rupees, which many experts see as a way to promote trade with countries that are under Western sanctions, such as Russia and Iran. The invoice showed payments to be made to Gazprombank via Mashreq Bank, its correspondent bank in Dubai.


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The UAE has maintained a neutral position with Russia and is not part of the sanctions on Moscow. Many Russians have also even lapped up property in Dubai and are driving a momentum in the real estate market in the UAE.

Russia wants to increase its use of non-Western currencies for trade with countries such as India, its foreign minister Sergi Lavrov said in April.

The country’s finance minister last month also said Moscow may start buying currencies of “friendly” countries, using such holdings to influence the exchange rate of the dollar and euro as a means of countering sharp gains in the rouble.

The Moscow currency exchange is preparing to launch trading in the Uzbek sum and the dirham.

Russia’s state oil producer is also explored the idea of creating a trading venture in Dubai just like others who have a direct connection and are trying to work around the sanctions.

In June, Bloomberg cited a S&P Global Commodity Insight report that Litasco SA, a trading unit of Russia’s Lukoil PJSC, is looking at Dubai for a new head office. Litasco declined to comment at the time but said it would ensure it complied with all applicable sanctions.

Journalist for 25 years with leading publications in India and UAE such as The National, Mumbai Mirror, DNA, Indian Express and former Sports Editor of Now managing editor of, part of MEMc (


King Charles to deliver opening address at COP28 in Dubai



King Charles III is to make an opening speech at the COP28 climate summit in Dubai, Buckingham Palace announced on Wednesday. The monarch will address world leaders at the opening ceremony on December 1. After his speech, he will “take the opportunity to have meetings with regional leaders”, a Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said. The king, who is widely known for his environmental activism, was invited to Cop28 by President Sheikh Mohamed.

King Charles III is famous for his love of the environment, and he has been an advocate for organic farming and preventing climate change. He will attend the COP28 Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum, which runs alongside the event. He will also speak at COP28 on 1 December and is expected to share his vision for the future. He is no stranger to sharing these views with world leaders, as he previously spoke at Glasgow’s COP26 in 2021 and COP21 in Paris in 2025.

In 1989, the then Prince Charles and Princess Diana undertook their first trip to the UAE. The nine-day tour included visits to Oman, Qatar, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. The pair met Sheikh Zayed, the Founding Father of the UAE, at his majlis in Al Ain. 

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UAE’s historic space mission ends with astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi’s return




UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi and his fellow Crew-6 members have successfully returned to Earth, concluding their historic space mission. The crew members safely disembarked from the Dragon Endeavour spacecraft with assistance from SpaceX recovery personnel. Al Neyadi, the last to exit the spacecraft, completed the process exactly one hour after the splashdown.

Crew-6’s remarkable space mission spanned an impressive 186 days, setting a new record as the longest mission in Arab history. The Dragon capsule made a secure touchdown off the Florida coast at 8:17 am on a Monday, with Al Neyadi emerging from the Dragon spacecraft just an hour later. During this mission, Al Neyadi achieved significant milestones, elevating the UAE’s status in the global space arena. He completed the longest-ever space mission by an Arab, spending six months aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and conducting groundbreaking scientific experiments for the betterment of humanity and scientific advancement.

As Sultan Al Neyadi, the UAE’s second astronaut, emerged from the Dragon spacecraft, he greeted onlookers with a smile and a wave. It’s worth noting that astronauts returning from extended periods in space often experience an adjustment period as they readapt to Earth’s gravity. The recovery process for the crew may take up to two hours to ensure their well-being after this remarkable mission.

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UAE’s economic agreements with Turkey and Indonesia spring into action




The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is entering a new era of economic collaboration with two rapidly growing global players as it activates two of its Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements (CEPAs). The UAE-Türkiye CEPA and the UAE-Indonesia CEPA have officially come into force, setting the stage for enhanced trade and investment cooperation.

The primary goal of these CEPAs is to foster economic ties by doubling non-oil trade. The UAE-Türkiye CEPA aims to elevate bilateral non-oil trade to an impressive $40 billion within five years, while the UAE’s CEPA with Indonesia seeks to push non-oil trade beyond $10 billion within the same timeframe. These agreements also aim to facilitate investment projects valued at $10 billion in various sectors.

In the words of HE Al-Zeyoudi, “The implementation of our CEPAs with Türkiye and Indonesia marks a significant step forward in our foreign trade program. Both agreements will unlock significant opportunities for our private sector in two of the world’s most dynamic centers of growth.”

These CEPAs are the third and fourth of their kind to come into force for the UAE, following successful agreements with India in May 2022 and Israel in April 2023. They are a testament to the UAE’s foreign trade agenda, strategically forging robust economic connections with nations of global importance. Both CEPAs promise to reduce or remove tariffs on a wide range of goods, eliminate trade barriers, and create pathways for investments in vital sectors like logistics, energy, food production, fintech, e-commerce, and travel and tourism.

The UAE-Indonesia CEPA, inked in Abu Dhabi in July 2022, aims to significantly boost bilateral non-oil trade from $4.08 billion to over $10 billion within five years. Additionally, the agreement targets a combined trade in services worth $630 million by 2030. Notably, over 80 percent of UAE exports to Indonesia will now be exempt from customs duties under this pact. This partnership also has an eye on nurturing the rapidly expanding Islamic economy, projected to reach $3.2 trillion by 2024. It will accelerate investment projects worth $10 billion across sectors like agriculture, energy, infrastructure, and logistics. The UAE-Türkiye CEPA is equally impactful, having eliminated or reduced customs duties on 82 percent of product lines, accounting for more than 93 percent of bilateral non-oil trade. Türkiye was the UAE’s fastest-growing top ten trading partner in 2022, witnessing a 40 percent increase in non-oil trade to $18.9 billion. The newly liberalized trade environment is set to drive this figure to an impressive $40 billion within the next five years.

HE Al Zeyoudi also stressed that the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements play a vital role in attaining the nation’s objectives, in particular the vision laid out in “We The UAE 2031”, which seeks to double the UAE’s non-oil foreign trade to AED4 trillion and elevate national exports to AED800 billion. The recently published statistics from H1, 2023, which show a record non-oil foreign trade value of AED1.239 trillion for the first six months of the year, demonstrate that the UAE is firmly on track – and that the CEPA program will help maintain this upward trajectory.

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