Russia is looking to build commercial and defence ties with Vietnam, including projects directly linked to the “energy and gas sectors”, as Vladimir Putin looks to Asia after being hit with a raft of international sanctions following his invasion of Ukraine.

Just one day after meeting North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and signing a mutual defence agreement, the Russian leader said Moscow and Hanoi were interested in building a reliable security architecture in the Asia-Pacific region.

“We will also increase the efficiency of cooperation on projects in the energy and gas sectors,” said Putin, as reported by a local media outlet.

He added that this will be done in order “to create favourable conditions for the work of our companies”.

Putin made the comments in a televised news briefing with Vietnamese President To Lam.

In a separate meeting with Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, Putin said Russia was ready to set up long-term supplies of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the country, according to reports on a Russian newswire.

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Just a day ago, EU nations formulated news sanctions against Russia, including the first measures targeting Russian LNG.

The EU has restricted the re-export of Russian LNG in its waters but hasn’t completely banned imports, unlike the ban on Russian seaborne oil in 2022. Despite this, a few EU countries continue to import gas from Russia through pipelines via Ukraine.

The current talks with Vietnam build on a long-standing relationship between the two nations. Russia has cooperated with Vietnam in the oil and gas sector for a number of years.

Russia’s state-run Zarubezhneft, which specialises in the development of oil and gas fields in Russia and abroad, has been central to the business.

Earlier this week, a Vietnamese Government statement said that Vietsovpetro, a joint venture incorporating Zarubezhneft and Vietnamese state oil company PetroVietnam, is already producing oil from Vietnam’s offshore fields.

According to a recent Kremlin statement, Zarubezhneft has also acquired an investment licence for development of offshore hydrocarbon block 11-2 near the coast of Vietnam.

Putin has said previously that Novatek, a Russian LNG producer, will launch “liquefied natural gas projects in Vietnam”, without providing any further details.

Russia’s hydrocarbon earnings increased to $337.5bn this year, a 38% increase from 2021, according to an Economy Ministry document seen by Reuters.