Barak Ravid, author of Axios from Tel Aviv

Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke on the phone on Thursday with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and discussed oil production and his latest visit to Iran, according to the Kremlin.

Why it matters: The phone call took place less than a week after President Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia, which was aimed in part at pressing the kingdom to increase oil production.

Driving the news: Putin and MBS on Thursday stressed the friendly relations between Russia and Saudi Arabia and discussed the global oil market and expanding trade and economic ties, according to the Kremlin readout of the call.

  • “The importance of further coordination within the framework of OPEC+ was emphasized,” the Kremlin said.
  • Both leaders noted that OPEC and its allied producers “are consistently fulfilling their obligations in order to maintain the necessary balance and stability in the global energy market,” the readout added.
  • Putin and MBS also discussed Syria and Putin’s trilateral meeting in Tehran with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi earlier this week.

The big picture: During his summit with nine Arab leaders in Jeddah last week, Biden made clear that the U.S. continues to be engaged in the Middle East.

  • Ahead of the summit, the White House released intelligence about Iranian plans to sell hundreds of armed drones to Russia for the war in Ukraine. Some saw this as an attempt to drive a wedge between Russia and the Gulf states.