US rebukes Hanoi ahead of expected Putin visit

THE United States has criticised Vietnam for having invited Russia’s President Vladimir Putin to Hanoi, the US embassy in Hanoi said ahead of an expected state visit this week.

Putin is expected to arrive for a two-day visit starting tomorrow after repeated invitations from Vietnamese leaders.

The US has led Western sanctions on Russia following its invasion of neighbouring Ukraine in February 2022.

In March last year, the Hague-based International Criminal Court’s (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for the Russian president over alleged war crimes in Ukraine.

“No country should give Putin a platform to promote his war of aggression and otherwise allow him to normalise his atrocities,” a spokesperson for the US embassy said when asked about the impact of the expected visit on ties with the United States.

“If he is able to travel freely, it could normalise Russia’s blatant violations of international law,” the spokesperson added, referring to the invasion that Russia describes as a “special operation”.

The US upgraded relations with Hanoi last year and is Vietnam’s top trading partner.

Vietnam’s foreign ministry did not reply to a request for comment.

Putin’s visit has not yet been formally announced, but multiple officials have confirmed the trip, which would be his first to Vietnam since 2017. The two countries have historically close ties. — Reuters

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