All Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz wanted to do was to arrive in Moscow in style. However, his plan fell flat when his favorite golden escalator betrayed him.
Just as the 81-year old monarch disembarked from the plane on his custom-made golden escalators — which he always takes with him to international trips — the stairs stopped moving.
Obviously, the royal never had to disembark on his own from a plane so he just stood there for almost thirty seconds, willing the escalator to work. When it didn’t, he was forced to use his own two feet to descend from the plane.
Soon after, a procession of cars, flanked by Russian police, sped the monarch towards the center of the city.
For this four-day visit, the Saudi king not just took his golden escalator, but also 1,500 people and his own carpets.
The Saudi government also reserved the entirety of the Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons hotel in Moscow. The Four Seasons had to ask some of his guests to cancel their reservation to make room for the visiting king and even forced people out who lived in the hotel permanently, according to Bloomberg.
The bill for booking the two hotels may total $3 million. That does not include what the foreign delegation will spend on various services, spa treatments and meals, said Vadim Prasov, vice president of the Federation of Restaurateurs and Hoteliers of Russia.
Saudi Arabia has reportedly already signed a $3 billion deal to buy S-400 , Russia's most advanced air defence missile systems. Along with the anti-aircraft missiles, King Salman is also set to buy Kornet anti-tank guided missile systems and multiple rocket launchers under the deal.
These negotiations are "expected to play a pivotal role in the growth and development of the military and military systems industry in Saudi Arabia," Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI), the kingdom's military industries firm said.
The Saudi monarch also discussed ways to cooperate to stabilize the oil market.
Meanwhile, the Gulf kingdom has been embroiled in an years-old war with Houthi rebels in Yemen who captured the capital city, Sanaa, and overthrew President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi's government. The war has resulted in innumerable deaths.
More than 10,000 people have been killed. The United Nation has blacklisted the Saudi-led coalition for killing and injuring 683 children and landing 38 attacks on hospitals and schools.
The war has also led the country to the brink of famine with 80 percent of the country's children in dire need of aid — while the Saudi king acquires even more weapons.
Banner/Thumbnail: Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin