UAE and Russian spies have agreed to work together against the US and UK, according to a leaked document seen by Associated Press. The document is one of a number posted online and said to be part of a major US intelligence breach.
US officials have declined to comment on the documents and have urged caution over their use. Nevertheless, they are thought to be credible as they carry known "top secret" markings, and the US Justice Department has opened an investigation into the possible release of Pentagon documents that were posted on several social media sites.
The document viewed by the AP includes an item citing research from 9 March under the heading "Russia/UAE: Intelligence Relationship Deepening". Referring to the main successor agency of the Soviet-era KGB, the Federal Security Service (FSB), the item said: "In mid-January, FSB officials claimed UAE security service officials and Russia had agreed to work together against US and UK intelligence agencies, according to newly acquired signals intelligence."
The assessment concluded that, "The UAE probably views engagement with Russian intelligence as an opportunity to strengthen growing ties between Abu Dhabi and Moscow and diversify intelligence partnerships amid concerns of US disengagement from the region."
The UAE has rejected the claim. In a statement to AP on Monday, it said that it had not seen the document in question and described as "categorically false" the claims regarding the FSB.
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"We refute any allegation regarding an agreement to deepen cooperation between the UAE and other countries' security services against another country," insisted an official UAE statement. "The UAE has deep and distinguished relations with all countries, reflecting its principles of openness, partnership, building bridges and working to serve the common interests of countries and peoples to achieve international peace and security."
Relations between Abu-Dhabi and Moscow have deepened over recent years. The Gulf state is a major hub for Russian oligarchs to avoid western sanctions. Their interests in the geo-political issues such as the war in Libya have also aligned.
Andreas Krieg, an associate professor at King's College in London, said on Monday that the UAE is, "The most important strategic partner for Russia in both the Middle East and Africa."
The head of Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service, Sergey Naryshkin, held extensive meetings with UAE leaders in Dubai in 2020.