Home General Putin’s Scheduled Visit To Vietnam Sparks US Reproach

Putin’s Scheduled Visit To Vietnam Sparks US Reproach


Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Hanoi this week, underscoring Vietnam’s continued alignment with Russia. This scheduled visit has triggered a strong rebuke from the United States.

Diplomatic Context

Putin’s visit follows Vietnam’s absence from a Ukraine peace summit in Switzerland and its participation in a BRICS meeting in Russia. Sworn in for a fifth term recently, Putin is set to meet Vietnam’s new president To Lam and other leaders during his two-day visit.

The United States, which is Vietnam’s top trading partner, has expressed harsh criticism. “No country should give Putin a platform to promote his war of aggression and otherwise allow him to normalise his atrocities,” a US embassy spokesperson in Hanoi said. The spokesperson emphasized that allowing Putin to travel freely could normalise Russia’s violations of international law, referencing the Ukraine invasion launched in February 2022.

International Reactions

Vietnam’s foreign ministry did not respond to requests for comment. The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Putin in March 2023 for alleged war crimes in Ukraine. Vietnam, Russia and the US are not ICC members.

The European Union, another key economic partner of Vietnam, did not comment ahead of the visit. However, it expressed dissatisfaction last month over Vietnam’s decision to delay a meeting with the EU envoy on Russian sanctions, which officials linked to preparations for Putin’s visit.

Nitin A Gokhale WhatsApp Channel

Ian Storey, senior fellow at the Singapore-based ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, noted that from Vietnam’s perspective, the visit aims to demonstrate a balanced foreign policy. Vietnam recently hosted both Joe Biden and Xi Jinping, showing its neutrality among major powers.

Focus On Economic, Security Ties

In his first state visit to Vietnam since 2017, Putin is expected to announce agreements in trade, investment, technology, and education. However, the main focus will likely be on more sensitive issues, including arms, energy and payments, given Russia’s historical role as Vietnam’s top arms supplier and its involvement in Vietnamese gas and oil fields.

Discussions will also address the challenges of carrying out transactions due to US sanctions on Russian banks. Carl Thayer, a senior expert on Vietnam security, highlighted that Putin and Vietnamese leaders might agree on rouble-dong currency transactions to facilitate payments.

With inputs from Reuters