5 countries’ representatives walk out when Russian official speaks in Bangkok

Maksim Reshetnikov, photo by

Thailand may be claiming ‘neutrality’ following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but representatives of 5 countries at a Bangkok event today certainly weren’t. Two Thai officials and 2 international diplomats told Reuters that at the Apec trade ministers’ meeting in Bangkok today, representatives of 5 countries walked out when Russia’s economic development minister Maksim Reshetnikov was speaking.

The 5 who walked out were representatives of Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Japan and the US.

Representatives from 21 countries attended the meeting, which aims to discuss economic prosperity. A Thai government source said the representatives walked out in protest against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In the future, Thailand might see more protests like this. Thailand is the current chair of Apec, and is scheduled to hold a summit of the group’s leaders in November. It is reportedly unclear whether Russian President Vladimir Putin will be there.

The Apec meeting today was held at the Centara Grand and Bangkok Convention Centre at Central World.

PM Prayut said earlier this month that Thailand won’t pick a side between Russia and Ukraine, and will remain politically neutral. After the ASEAN-US Special Summit in Washington last week, Prayut went on to use the ever-so-neutral language that Thai officials have been using ever since Russia invaded Ukraine in February. He stressed that the US and other powerful countries should focus on “humanitarian” efforts.

Even though Thailand voted in March for a UN resolution demanding Russia withdraw forces from Ukraine, Thailand nevertheless confirmed that month it will remain neutral.

SOURCE: Kyodo News & Reuters

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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.