Russia would, however, suffer from the closure of the Suez Canal. Most of Russia’s oil exports to India — currently the biggest importer of Russian hydrocarbons — are sent via the canal. That’s up to 3 million barrels of oil a day: about a third of Russia’s crude exports.

If the Suez Canal were closed, Russia would be forced to send its tankers all the way around Africa to reach India. Its fleet of tankers is not big enough to maintain current export volumes if that were to happen, and sourcing more would be no mean feat: tanker demand would be sky-high in such a scenario since Russia is not the only country transporting oil through the Suez Canal.

For now, the risks to Moscow’s oil exports from the Houthis are minimal. Indeed, Russia is the only country not to have reduced the amount of oil it sends through the Red Sea amid the ongoing military confrontation. It is possible Houthi fighters are deliberately avoiding targeting Russian ships: perhaps Moscow is passing the Houthis — via Iran — information about their tankers. Yet even if that is the case, it is hardly a foolproof system of protection from possible escalation. The Houthis did attack a tanker on Jan. 14 that was carrying Russian oil.

It seems clear, then, that Russia has little to gain from a flare-up in the Red Sea. For that reason, Washington’s efforts to solve the problem of Houthi attacks are likely to be quietly welcomed in Moscow. Of course, U.S.-Russian tensions mean the Kremlin can’t officially come out and say it supports U.S. military action. But it is very unlikely to get in the way.

This article was originally published by The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.