Putin strengthens ties with Vietnam amid growing Russian isolation over Ukraine

US-led sanctions were imposed on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.

HONG KONG – Russian President Vladimir Putin met Vietnamese President To Lam in Hanoi shortly after his close visit to North Korea. Confirm ties to the Kremlin Russia has taken this step to increase trade with its long-term ally Vietnam, as Russia faces isolation on the world stage due to the invasion of Ukraine.

Putin arrived in the Vietnamese capital on Thursday morning after a visit to Pyongyang, where he met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and signed a controversial agreement that included a mutual defense pledge to help each other in the event of aggression against either country. The State Department said the growing Russia-North Korea ties were a matter of “great concern.”

Putin’s visit to Vietnam is widely seen as aimed at signaling that Russia still has friends in the region.

Lam congratulated Putin’s “comrade” from Vietnam on his recent re-election, while Putin said one of Russia’s priorities is to strengthen ties with the Southeast Asian nation.

Putin and Lam signed a number of agreements to boost economic cooperation between the two countries. Ties between the two countries date back decades, when the Soviet Union supported communism in the country in the 1950s.

Lam said the two countries are “interested in further cooperation in defense and security to address non-traditional security challenges.”

Putin said they had a constructive conversation and that their positions on key global issues were “identical or very close.”

The Russian President also met Nguyen Phu Trong, General Secretary of the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam, and laid a wreath at the mausoleum of former communist leader Ho Chi Minh.

Manufacturing powerhouse Vietnam hosted President Joe Biden last September in what is being seen as part of a “visit of progress” between the former foes.

Russia is Vietnam’s biggest arms supplier. Ahead of Putin’s visit to Vietnam, a spokesman for the US embassy in Hanoi said that “no country should give Putin a platform to promote his aggressive war and otherwise normalise his atrocities.”

US-led sanctions were imposed on Russia following its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

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