The French Intelligence Online website revealed the suspicious role of the IDEX 2023 exhibition in Abu Dhabi in enabling Russia to collect intelligence information on the technologies of companies that supply weapons to Ukraine.
The report indicated that the conflict between Russia and Ukraine was present at the Air Defense Exhibition IDEX 2023.
From February 20 to 24, Abu Dhabi hosted the IDEX and NAVDEX exhibitions, which the ADNEC group organized in cooperation with the UAE Ministry of Defense, and received more than 132,000 visitors.
According to the French website, players in the defence industry tried to take advantage of IDEX to gather intelligence on the latest technologies developed by each side.
The site stated that The IDEX exhibition provided the Russian defence sector with an opportunity to try to update its intelligence information about players in the defence industry who provide Ukraine with equipment that was also present through dozens of companies that joined under the banner of the National Association of Ukrainian Defense Industries.
It added that Russia sent a large delegation to the trade fair, including representatives from the state-owned companies Rostec and Rosoboronexport.
The Russian engineers specialized in helicopters (RH) looked at the stands and inquired about the level of armouring of vehicles manufactured by the French group Arquus, especially the Fortress MK2 anti-tank model.
Although they were not particularly reticent, given their uniforms bearing the Russian flag, other members of the Russian wing were less visible when they approached the Pakistani munitions in black suits and more neutral white shirts. This defence conglomerate, owned by the Pakistani Ministry of Defense, has been one of the largest suppliers to Ukraine since the beginning of the conflict.
“A few weeks ago, several Western governments warned local companies heading to IDEX to be careful when interacting with Russian representatives at the event,” it added.
In contrast, the Russian Pavilion team simply did not allow anyone to enter its stand in Navdex, the maritime section of the trade fair.
Some curious individuals were turned away at the entrance to the platform. Individuals from Thales, Nexter, Leonardo, Airbus and Boeing, who are easily identifiable by corporate badges, were not allowed to view the Russian-made drone and radar models on display.
The French website considered that “the Abu Dhabi authorities have strengthened the Russian presence (at the exhibition), indifferent to Western pressure to impose sanctions on Moscow.”
It pointed out that UAE Deputy Prime Minister Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, brother of President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, invited Deputy Prime Minister and Russian Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov and accompanied him during his visit to the exhibition on February 20.
The IDEX exhibition concluded with the conclusion of 55 local and international deals between the UAE and companies exhibiting its defence products from Europe and Asia, with deals worth 23.34 billion dirhams (more than 6.354 billion US dollars), an increase of 12% compared to last year, according to Emirati media reports.