Home Neighbours Ahead Of Possible Putin Tour, Vietnam Postpones Meet With EU Sanctions Chief

Ahead Of Possible Putin Tour, Vietnam Postpones Meet With EU Sanctions Chief


As Hanoi gets ready for a probable visit from Russian President Vladimir Putin, the foreign affairs ministry of Vietnam informed the European Union that it was unavailable for a meeting on Russian sanctions with the senior official of the union next week, as per diplomats.

David O’Sullivan, the special envoy for the enforcement of EU sanctions, was scheduled to meet with Vietnamese officials on May 13–14, but Hanoi requested a postponement of the meeting, citing “leaders were too busy to meet with him,” according to a diplomat with direct knowledge of the matter. Three more diplomats affirmed the visit’s postponement, one of whom mentioned that Vietnam had proposed July as a substitute date.

There was no immediate comment from representatives of the EU in Vietnam.

According to one of the sources, two of the diplomats and an additional individual acquainted with the conversations connected the postponement to the planning of a potential visit by Putin to Vietnam, which might be ‘spoiled’ by the EU envoy’s previous visit.

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Following the issuance of an arrest warrant for Putin in March 2023 for suspected war crimes in Ukraine by the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC), of which Vietnam is not a member, Vietnamese leaders have extended multiple invitations to him to visit their country. According to Vietnamese state media, Putin had accepted the offer last week and the visit date will be determined following his inauguration for a fifth term as president on May 7. This information was provided by Russia’s ambassador to Vietnam, Bezdetko Gennady Stepanovich.

Putin last visited Vietnam in 2017.

Vietnam has been making an effort to maintain a neutral foreign policy in its dealings with the main international powers. Its refusal to denounce Russia’s assault on Ukraine is viewed by Western nations as being too close to the Kremlin. Vietnam receives the majority of its armaments from Russia, which is also vital to the country’s exploitation of Vietnam’s gas reserves in the South China Sea, which are located in waters China claims.

(With inputs from Reuters)