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US scolds former foe over Putin visit – Reuters

Washington has reportedly rebuked Vietnam for hosting talks later this week with the Russian president

The US Embassy in Hanoi has reportedly denounced the Vietnamese government for hosting a state visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin, marking the latest failure by Washington to isolate Moscow over its conflict with Ukraine.

“No country should give Putin a platform to promote his war of aggression and otherwise allow him to normalize his atrocities,” an embassy spokesperson told Reuters on Monday. “If he is able to travel freely, it could normalize Russia’s blatant violations of international law.”

The statement came in reaction to media reports that Putin will make a two-day visit to Vietnam, starting on Wednesday. The Russian leader is scheduled to meet in Hanoi with his Vietnamese counterpart, To Lam, and other leaders of the Southeast Asian nation.

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Since beginning his fifth term as president last month, Putin has been making a round of trips for talks with key allies. He’s already traveled to China, Belarus, and Uzbekistan. The Kremlin announced on Monday that Putin will travel to North Korea, where he will meet with leader Kim Jong-un and attend a state concert in honor of his visit, on Tuesday.

A US-led sanctions campaign has failed to cripple the Russian economy or to isolate Moscow diplomatically. Western media outlets suggested last year that Putin’s foreign travel would be severely curtailed because of International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrants against him over the conflict in Ukraine.

Vietnam is not among the ICC’s 123 member nations. Although the US began normalizing diplomatic relations with Vietnam in the 1990s, two decades after ending a catastrophic war, Hanoi has avoided becoming closely aligned with any of the major powers.

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Putin’s visit will mark his fifth trip to Vietnam and his first since 2017. He’s expected to announce agreements with Hanoi on trade, investment, technology and education. The talks also are likely to cover Russian arms sales to Vietnam and ways to transact payments amid US sanctions against Russian banks, Reuters said.

The trip follows the Vietnamese government’s decision to skip last week’s Ukraine “peace” conference in Switzerland, to which Russia was not invited. Hanoi also has expressed interest in joining BRICS and sent a high-level diplomat to a meeting of the group in Russia last week.

June 18, 2024 at 04:14AM

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