BANGKOK: Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has invited Russian President Vladimir Putin for an official visit next year, he said in Beijing on Wednesday.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine plunged Putin into international isolation, leaving him with few allies.
The International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for Putin over the alleged deportation of thousands of Ukrainian children to Russia.
Thailand – which is not a state party to the Rome Statute of the ICC – has decided to maintain cooperation with Russia.
Srettha and Putin met on the sidelines of China’s Belt and Road Initiative forum on Tuesday evening and discussed strengthening trade and cultural ties.
“I have invited him to visit Thailand next year,” Srettha said on Wednesday.
“President Putin likes Phuket, I understand that he travels often,” he said, referring to the Thai resort island.
According to a statement from the Thai government, Putin has accepted the invitation, but the date has not yet been set.
During the meeting with Sretta, Putin lamented the decline in bilateral trade due to the “turbulent international situation”, according to the Russian news agency TASS.
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Tourism-dependent Thailand was visited by more than a million Russians this year.
Thailand recently changed its visa regime to allow Russians to visit the kingdom for up to three months – up from 30 days.
Last year, Thailand joined China and India in abstaining from voting at the UN General Assembly to condemn Russia’s annexation of parts of Ukraine.
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