Many of his interlocutors came from former Soviet countries that felt obliged to maintain good ties with Russiaor came from states that share Putin’s anti-American stance. But others represent countries that have sought to maintain a neutral position in the war, showing that the Russian leader’s efforts to appease the so-called Global South as a counterweight to the US-dominated world order are paying off.

Xi Dialogue

Putin wasted no time in renewing his friendship with the Chinese president Xi Jinpingwho flew to Beijing for a new six-year term just over a week after being sworn in. This month, they met again on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization top in KazakhstanXi, whose support has helped Russia resist unprecedented Western sanctions over the war in Ukraine, said China “always stood on the right side of history” when he and Putin pledged to “strengthen comprehensive strategic coordination.”

Visit of Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s visit to Moscow this week, his first to Russia in five years, sends a clear signal about India‘s determination to stay close to Russia amid the growing Sino-Russian embrace. New Delhi remains a major buyer of Russian arms even as it diversifies its defense needs and has become increasingly dependent on discounted Russian oil since the war in Ukraine began.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, on Tuesday. Photo: EPA-EFE

Orban ‘peace mission’

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the European Uniondefied criticism from EU colleagues over his self-styled peace initiative to hold talks with Putin in Moscow last week. Orban, seen as the most Russia-friendly figure in the 27-nation bloc, had earlier visited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kiev and went to China to meet Xi after his talks with Putin.
Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban during their meeting in Moscow. Photo: Kremlin/dpa

Erdogan invites

Putin met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the first time since September last year on the sidelines of the SCO summit. They discussed Russia’s booming tourism to Turkey and the Akkuyu nuclear power plant that Rosatom is building in the country. Erdogan said NATO Turkey wants to further develop “warm relations” with Russia, and has invited Putin to visit “very soon”.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attend a meeting on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Astana, Kazakhstan on July 3. Photo: Kremlin Pool via AP

North Korean Alliance

Putin made his first trip in 24 years to North Koreawhere he signed a mutual defense pact with leader Kim Jong-unwho pledged to “unconditionally” support Russia in its war against Ukraine. The military partnership has fueled fears that Russia could supply advanced weapons technology to the isolated communist state, which has sent munitions and missiles to aid the Kremlin’s war machine. From Pyongyang, Putin traveled to Vietnamwho ignored US complaints about hosting the Russian leader.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un toast during a reception in Pyongyang on June 19. Photo: Sputnik/Pool/TNS

Wider contacts

Putin has been busy since May at home and abroad with other meetings with foreign rulers. In addition to Xi and Erdogan, Putin met the leaders of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Pakistan And Qatar on the sidelines of the SCO summit in Astana. In Russia, he held talks with his counterparts from Zimbabwe, Bolivia, Congo, Cuba, Armenia, Tajikistan and Bahrain. Putin also traveled to Uzbekistan and Belarus to meet their leaders.
More top-level diplomacy looms on the horizon as Russia hosts the expanded summit Brics group of states in Kazan in October. That will likely give Putin the chance to meet the leaders of BrazilIndia, China, South Africa, Iran, EgyptEthiopia and the United Arab Emirates.