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COMRADES IN ARMS

North Korean leader Kim to meet Putin in Russia this month, says NYT

North Korean leader Kim to meet Putin in Russia this month, says NYT
Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) greets North Korean leader Kim Jong-un during their meeting on 25 April 2019 in Vladivostok, Russia. (Photo: Mikhail Svetlov / Getty Images)

The planned trip would come as Russia discusses holding joint military exercises with North Korea and after Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu had tried on a visit to North Korea to convince Pyongyang to sell artillery ammunition to Russia.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un plans to travel to Russia this month to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the possibility of supplying weapons for the war in Ukraine, The New York Times reported on Monday, citing US and allied sources.

Kim would travel from Pyongyang, probably by armoured train, to Vladivostok, on the Pacific Coast of Russia, where he would meet Putin, the newspaper said. An advance North Korean team recently travelled to Russia to prepare for the possible visit, according to the report.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The planned trip would come as Russia discusses holding joint military exercises with North Korea and after Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu had tried on a visit to North Korea to convince Pyongyang to sell artillery ammunition to Russia.

The US  has warned that North Korea could provide more weapons to Russia, whose forces invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

White House national security spokesman John Kirby said on 30 August that the US was concerned that arms negotiations between the two countries were advancing actively.

“Under these potential deals, Russia would receive significant quantities and multiple types of munitions from the DPRK which the Russian military plans to use in Ukraine,” Kirby said, using the acronym for North Korea.

The White House National Security Council said Kim expects “leader-level talks” with Russia.

“As we have warned publicly, arms negotiations between Russia and the DPRK are actively advancing,” National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said on Monday.

“We have information that Kim Jong-un expects these discussions to continue, to include leader-level diplomatic engagement in Russia. We urge the DPRK to cease its arms negotiations with Russia and abide by the public commitments that Pyongyang has made to not provide or sell arms to Russia,” Watson said.

The US has for months accused Russia and the Wagner mercenary group of receiving deliveries of North Korean weapons. DM

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