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The invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces was widely expected, but most Gulf states were slow to make any public statements in response as they sought to avoid taking sides between the US – which remains the region’s most important international player for all its reduced enthusiasm for policing the Gulf – and Russia, which is an important ally in setting oil prices, selling military equipment and providing a model of 21st century autocracy. Amid the muted rhetoric, clear differences have appeared between GCC states.
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