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Facing Western isolation over Ukraine, Russia looks to Mideast, Islamic world

As sanctions against Russia continue to increase, Moscow will likely focus on states in the Islamic world and the Middle East for support — but even this window may be closing.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) talks to Russia's Chief Mufti Talgat Tadzhuddin (back) during their meeting in Kazan on Jan. 24, 2018.

After the start of Russia's military campaign against Ukraine and the resulting unprecedented sanctions against Moscow, the latter is focusing its attention on the leading states in the Islamic world and the greater Middle East to negate the impact of Western isolation.

The operation against Ukraine began when Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan was in Moscow on an official visit; he had arrived in the Russian capital on the eve of the launch of the military operation. This gave rise to speculation about whether the Pakistani leader’s visit could be considered an implicit endorsement of Russia's actions.

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