Putin to visit North Korea for the first time in over two decades

Russian president Vladimir Putin will visit North Korea on June 18-19 at the invitation of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, according to the Kremlin’s press service.

This will be Putin's first visit to North Korea since his first presidential term in 2000, when Kim Jong Un's father, Kim Jong Il, was still in power.

Ahead of the trip, the Kremlin leader published an article on the Kremlin website, lauding North Korea for its "firm support" of Russia in its war against Ukraine and expressing readiness for closer cooperation.

"Pyongyang has been and remains our staunch ally and supporter, ready to decisively oppose the collective West’s attempts to hinder the establishment of a multipolar world order based on justice, mutual respect for sovereignty, and consideration of each other’s interests... The United States and its satellites openly declare their aim is to deliver a strategic defeat to Russia. They are doing everything to prolong and intensify the conflict in Ukraine, which they provoked themselves," reiterated Putin, echoing his customary narratives.

He also accused Russia's "opponents" of "allowing and effectively encouraging the use of modern Western weapons and equipment to strike Russian territory." According to the Russian leader, such strikes are often allegedly aimed at "deliberately peaceful targets."

Putin stated that Russia will support North Korea and is also ready for "close cooperation to make international relations more democratic and stable."

The Kremlin chief has also ordered the preparation of a strategic partnership agreement between Russia and North Korea.

South Korea reported a wide range of exchanges between Russia and North Korea, including North Korean weapons being used by Russian forces in the war against Ukraine. Independent experts and UN observers have found North Korean weapons, including debris from downed missiles, in Ukrainian territory.

According to the South Korean Ministry of Defense, North Korea has sent containers to Russia that may contain around 5 million artillery shells. South Korean analysts fear that Kim Jong Un may seek additional military support and advanced technology from Putin, crucial for the development of North Korea’s strategic systems.

Putin and Kim are also likely to discuss the possibility of inviting North Korean migrant workers to Russia to address labor shortages after hundreds of thousands of Russians have been sent to the war against Ukraine.

  North Korea, Russia, Kim Jong-un, Putin