The severe and fast-evolving Ukraine crisis has required a great concentration of Russia’s political efforts and is having a massive impact on Russian policymaking, including in the Middle East. This region provides the best opportunity for Moscow to reassert its status as a key player in the global arena, and the deep fall of oil prices makes Russia particularly attentive to regional conflict developments. One of the main motivations for Russia is the pronounced desire to demonstrate its capacity to thwart US policy, but another is to prove its value to China as a strategic partner. Russia’s reach remains limited but it will continue to look for opportunities to make a difference.
Keywords: Middle East, Syria, Russia, security, conflict