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Russian President Vladimir Putin to make ‘friendly’ go to to North Korea

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Russian President Vladimir Putin will journey to North Korea on June 18 for a “friendly” go to, the Kremlin introduced, because the West suspects Pyongyang of supplying Moscow with weapons for its Ukraine offensive.

The go to to the world’s most reclusive state comes as Mr. Putin seeks ammunition to proceed his army marketing campaign launched in February 2022, which has thrown Moscow into unprecedented international isolation.

It additionally comes 9 months after Mr. Putin hosted North Korea’s Kim Jong Un on a uncommon international journey to the Russian Far East, the place the pair lavished one another with reward.

“President Vladimir Putin on June 18-19 will go to the North Korean Democratic Republic on a friendly state visit,” the Kremlin stated in a press release.

Moscow stated Mr. Putin will then journey to Vietnam.

Western international locations, South Korea and Kyiv have accused Pyongyang of sending weapons to Moscow to be used in Ukraine, in violation of UN sanctions on North Korea.

Washington and Seoul say Russia has in return offered Pyongyang with technical assist for its satellite tv for pc program and despatched assist to the food-strapped state.

Mr. Putin has scaled down journeys overseas since launching the Ukraine offensive, however has paid some high-profile visits to Moscow’s few key allies akin to China.

Pyongyang hardly ever hosts international visitors, remoted diplomatically and having shut itself off much more for the reason that COVID pandemic.

Russia and North Korea, which share a small land border, have historic hyperlinks for the reason that Soviet Union helped discovered the tiny state after the Korean War within the Fifties.

Since the autumn of the USSR, Russia was one of many few international locations to have working relations with Pyongyang.

‘Comrades-in-arms’

It will likely be Mr. Putin’s second go to to the nation in his time in energy, after a visit 24 years in the past, shortly after changing into president, to fulfill Kim Jung Un’s father Kim Jong Il.

Back then, Mr. Putin was a frequent traveller, repeatedly touring the United States and Europe.

Now Russia finds itself underneath heavy worldwide sanctions and the Kremlin chief is a persona non grata in many of the Western world, formally wished by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Mr. Kim stated final week that ties with Russia had “developed into an unbreakable relationship of comrades-in-arms”.

When the leaders noticed one another in September, Mr. Putin stated he noticed “possibilities” for army cooperation with North Korea, whereas Kim wished the Kremlin chief “victory” in Ukraine.

They symbolically gifted one another rifles and the Kremlin promised that Putin would go to in flip.

A string of Russian officers, together with Moscow’s spy chief, have since visited North Korea in preparation for the go to.

In March, Russia additionally used its UN Security Council veto to successfully finish UN monitoring of North Korean sanctions violations, a transfer seen as a victory for Pyongyang.

Both Russia and North Korea have denied that Pyongyang’s weapons are being utilized in Ukraine.

Mr. Kim’s highly effective sister, Kim Yo Jon, accused Seoul and Washington final month of “misleading public opinion” on the difficulty.

North Korean shells

Ukraine, nonetheless, has reported discovering North Korean shells on the battlefield.

In May, South Korea stated its northern rival fired a number of short-range ballistic missiles, with some specialists saying they might be checks for weapons destined to be used in opposition to Ukraine.

As the Kremlin and Pyongyang have publicly deepened their ties, Moscow’s relationship with South Korea — a Ukraine backer — has been massively strained.

Seoul is a significant weapons exporter to Kyiv. Its President Yoon Suk Yeol final month promised to take care of its assist in a telephone name with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky.

South Korea final month introduced separate sanctions on Russian and North Korean people and corporations allegedly buying and selling army provides.

For its half, Russia earlier this 12 months detained a South Korean man, Baek Won-soon, on spy fees. He is believed to be the primary South Korean detained on espionage fees in Russia for many years.

According to media reviews, he could have been a missionary serving to North Korean employees in Russia escape the nation.

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