Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in North Korea on Wednesday, kicking off a visit aimed at boosting defense ties between the two nuclear-armed countries. as Russia continues its military offensive in Ukraine.

>>> See more: Vladimir Putin says he will order a ceasefire, but if Ukraine meets certain conditions

“Vladimir Putin landed in Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea,” the Russian Presidency reported on Telegram. Putin’s previous visit to the secretive communist country in the Far East dates back to 2000.

Before embarking on the trip, Putin congratulated himself on the North Korea’s “strong support” for its military operation in Ukraine.

His arrival was also preceded by incidents on the border between North and South Korea.

Moscow and Pyongyang have been allies since the end of the Korean War (1950-1953) and have strengthened their relations since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

“Russia has supported [a Corea del Norte] and to its heroic people in their struggle to defend their right to choose for themselves the path of independence, originality and development in the confrontation with the cunning, dangerous and aggressive enemy (…) and will constantly support them in the future “Putin wrote in a column published in the North Korean official newspaper Rodong Sinmun and the official KCNA news agency.

He also stated that Pyongyang “firmly supports” the Russian offensive in Ukraine and thanked it for that support.

Western powers have been accusing the North Koreans for months of delivering ammunition to Russia for the war in Ukraine in exchange for technological, diplomatic and food assistance.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Putin’s visit shows how much Russia needs the support of authoritarian leaders to carry out its offensive in Ukraine.

Strategic partnership between Russia and North Korea

“What worries us is the deepening of the relationship between these two countries”declared White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby.

Putin’s diplomatic advisor, Yuri Ushakov, presented the trip as an important event for both countries, hit by Western sanctions, and mentioned the “possible” signing of “a global strategic cooperation agreement.”

The Russian leader travels with his Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the Minister of Defense, Andrei Belousov.

Putin, who is the subject of an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court, has reduced his foreign trips but has made some trips to visit key allies such as China.

Beijing urged NATO on Tuesday to “stop blaming” it for the Ukraine war, after Stoltenberg accused the Asian giant of aggravating the conflict with its support for Moscow.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba urged the international community to counter the “friendship” between Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un by increasing arms shipments to kyiv.

“The best way to respond is to continue strengthening the diplomatic coalition for a just and lasting peace in Ukraine and deliver more […] ammunition to Ukraine”Kuleba told AFP.

“Brothers in arms”

Putin’s visit takes place nine months after he received Kim in the Russian Far East, where both leaders showered each other with praise, although without closing – at least officially – any agreement.

Russia used its veto power in the UN Security Council in March to end the system of monitoring sanctions imposed on North Korea, established above all by Pyongyang’s nuclear program.

A few hours before Putin’s arrival in Pyongyang, dozens of North Korean soldiers briefly crossed the fortified border with South Korea, but quickly retreated in the face of warning shots, an act that military commanders in Seoul believe was accidental.

This is the second such incident in less than two weeks.

South Korea, pending visit

South Korea indicated that it continued “close preparations” for Putin’s visit.

South Korea provided significant military aid to Ukraine and participates in Western sanctions against Moscow. South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol visited the former Soviet republic last month.

Putin presents his offensive in Ukraine as a battle against American hegemony on the international stage.

This is the Russian leader’s second visit to North Korea. The previous one dates back almost a quarter of a century ago, shortly after coming to power, when he met with Kim Jong Un’s father, Kim Jong Il.

>>> You may be interested in: Zelensky after summit in Switzerland: Russian leaders “are not ready for a just peace”


Leave a Reply