As President Biden prepares to visit Saudi Arabia, the oil-rich kingdom is closer than ever to Russia and has no plans to disengage from Moscow or help Washington by pumping more crude, Saudi officials said.
The burgeoning partnership between Russia and the Saudis, rooted in their vast petroleum production capacity, has upended an oil-for-security arrangement between Washington and Riyadh that has lasted nearly half a century and been a central fixture of the post-World War II international order.
In the run-up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and after, the Saudis ignored Western calls to export more oil to help bring down international prices, which soared to almost $140 a barrel in March and have stayed mostly above $100 a barrel since late February.
By working with the Saudis, the Kremlin has aimed to weaken U.S. global leadership and to find new allies, following sanctions imposed after it annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, analysts said.
“OPEC+ was a geopolitical project as much as it was an economic project,” said Elina Ribakova, deputy chief economist at the Institute of International Finance, a financial-industry association.
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