Vladimir Putin hit out at what he called “Western isolation” and heaped praise on Vietnam, as Russia’s president continues his tour of Asia.

In an opinion piece, published to coincide with his arrival in Hanoi, Putin praised Vietnam for its “balanced” stance on the war in Ukraine.

Ukraine war latest: UK says ‘bizarre’ deal should be warning

Writing in Vietnam’s Communist Party newspaper Nhan Dan, he said the country’s neutral foreign policy shows “a pragmatic way to solve the crisis”.

He will hold talks with Communist Party general secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and new president To Lam on Thursday.

The US embassy in Hanoi condemned the visit and said: “No country should give Putin a platform to promote his war of aggression and otherwise allow him to normalise his atrocities.”

It was the Russian president’s second state visit on his tour of Asia following his stay in North Korea where he and Kim Jong Un agreed on a “comprehensive strategic partnership pact“.

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Putin and Kim sign new defence deal

The agreement is said to cover investment, strengthening cultural ties and cooperating on health, medical education and science, but also contains a mutual defence clause.

North Korea’s KCNA news agency clarified the clause later on Tuesday and said the countries agreed to provide all available military assistance if the other side faces “armed aggression”.

Putin called it a “breakthrough document,” while Kim noted North Korea and Russia’s “fiery friendship” and said the pact was their “strongest ever treaty”. He then vowed full support to Moscow against Ukraine.

China watching deal closely

Nicole Johnston

Asia correspondent


While it’s light on detail, this deal will be closely watched in Asia, especially here in China.

China shares a long border with North Korea. It has been the hermit kingdom’s main supporter and is responsible for 90% of North Korea’s trade.

China does not want to see Russia muscling in on its traditional area of influence in North Korea.

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US secretary of state Antony Blinken regarded Putin’s visit as one made “in desperation, to develop and to strengthen relations with countries that can provide it with what it needs to continue the war of aggression that it started against Ukraine”.

Koo Byoungsam, spokesperson of South Korea’s unification ministry, said Seoul was still interpreting the results of the summit.

But Japan’s chief cabinet secretary said Tokyo has “grave concerns” as Putin did not rule out cooperation with North Korea on military technology.

It follows accusations that North Korea has supplied Russia with weapons for its war in Ukraine, which both Pyongyang and Moscow deny.

They also insist that the deal struck on Tuesday is intended to be peaceful.

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