Putin reconsiders nuclear weapons doctrine after state visit to Vietnam

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he’s considering changing Russia’s nuclear weapon doctrine due to the development of ultra-low-power explosive nuclear devices by his country’s adversaries.

The remarks were made during a press conference in Vietnam’s capital Hanoi, where he was on a state visit.

During the visit, Putin signed at least a dozen deals with his Vietnamese counterpart, including an offer to supply fossil fuels to Vietnam.

Putin and President To Lam agreed to further cooperate in education, science and technology, oil and gas exploration and clean energy. The two countries also agreed to work on a roadmap for a nuclear science and technology centre in Vietnam.

In Hanoi, Putin also met Vietnam’s most powerful politician, Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, and Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, according to the official Vietnam News Agency.

The Russian President drove to Vietnam’s Presidential Palace on Thursday afternoon, where he was greeted by school children waving Russian and Vietnamese flags.

Vietnamese President To Lam and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin review the guard of honour at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi.

Putin strengthens ties with North Korea

Putin arrived in Hanoi on Thursday morning from North Korea after signing the strategic pact, which comes as both countries face escalating standoffs with the West and could mark their strongest connection since the end of the Cold War.

The strategic pact pledges mutual aid if either country faces “aggression.”

However, the Russian President said on Thursday he doesn’t expect North Korea’s volunteers to participate in the special military operation in Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un smile as they walk after the talks in Pyongyang.

Alarm bells for the West

Putin’s trip resulted in a sharp rebuke from the US Embassy in Vietnam, which said “no country should give Putin a platform to promote his war of aggression and otherwise allow him to normalise his atrocities.”

If Putin is allowed to travel freely it “could normalise Russia’s blatant violations of international law,” it said in a statement.

The US and its allies have expressed growing concerns over a possible arms arrangement in which North Korea provides Russia with badly needed munitions for use in Ukraine in exchange for Russian economic assistance and technology transfers that could enhance the threat posed by Kim’s nuclear weapons and missile programs.

Both countries deny accusations of weapons transfers, which would violate multiple UN Security Council sanctions that Russia previously endorsed.

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