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International relations

Russia draws closer to Southeast Asia with arms and energy trade

Putin to attend regional summit to build on economic and political cooperation

Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to strengthen his country's ties with ASEAN members.   © Reuters

SINGAPORE/MOSCOW -- Russian President Vladimir Putin will for the first time attend the East Asia Summit, to be held in Singapore on Thursday, as he looks to strengthen ties with Southeast Asia in the shadows of the U.S. and China.

Putin aims to boost arms and energy trade with the region, where Beijing and Washington are striving to extend their influence. Moscow is also seeking new partners to help offset the pressure of Western sanctions over its annexation of Crimea.

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