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Russia doubles down on Iraq despite COVID-19

Moscow and Baghdad continue to plot a course for bilateral relations, though the process is being complicated by Iraq’s precarious political situation and the global coronavirus crisis.

Russia’s key business interests in Iraq lie in the energy sector and hinge on the global oil and gas market, and Russian oil giants are continuing to operate on the ground despite the novel coronavirus and volatile international oil prices.

Russian Ambassador to Iraq Maksim Maksimov said in a recent interview with the Interfax news agency, “Iraqi offices and branches of Russian companies have been working as usual. Of course, they take all the necessary precautions against COVID-19. … If the situation on the ground deteriorates dramatically and poses a direct threat to the life and health of Russian employees, our operators have specific tried-and-tested plans in place, which may even involve repatriation. However, we hope that it will not be necessary to resort to these crisis-response scenarios.”

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