He was a long way from Moscow, but Russian President Vladimir Putin would have felt at home on his way to Qasr Al Watan – in the back seat of his custom-built luxury limousine.
The Aurus Senat, a bomb and bullet-proof vehicle, which is seen as a match for Donald Trump’s Cadillac state car, was waiting for him at Abu Dhabi Presidential Airport on Tuesday.
The limousine has been a feature of Mr Putin’s overseas visits since May 2018.
He is said to have personally instigated a project to design a Russian-built car, rather than relying on foreign brands such as Mercedes, as he had done previously.
The result was Aurus – a new brand that is hoping to become an eastern rival to Rolls-Royce and which is making inroads in the Middle East.
And while the Senat can be bought by wealthy customers, Mr Putin’s version has been specially adapted. His Senat can withstand sniper fire and chemical gas attacks, and also has advanced communications equipment installed, making it a command centre on wheels.
But the small details are important too. Its doors are extra-large making it easy to get in and out of.
Two of the four seats in the back are retractable and, for extra security, occupants who wish to close the car's window curtains are still able to see what is happening outside the vehicle in real-time via live CCTV footage aired on internal screens. An emergency exit is also built into the rear of the car.
There are also some special secret features in the Russian head of state’s seven-tonne and almost seven-metre-long car, but when The National spoke to Aurus chief executive, Franz Hilgert, he said he could not reveal them.