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/ Source: NBC News

MOSCOW — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will not attend events in Moscow next week commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two in Europe, the Kremlin said on Thursday.

"He has decided to stay in Pyongyang," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call. "This decision is related to (North) Korea's internal affairs."

The trip would have been Kim's first overseas since he took power in 2011 after the death of his father.

Shin Kyung-min, a member of South Korean parliament's intelligence committee, had said that South Korea's spy agency expected Kim to go to Moscow although there was no independent confirmation of the plan.

Peskov said about 30 foreign leaders would attend anniversary events but not all would attend a military parade on Red Square on May 9. These include German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is expected to be in Moscow only on May 10.

Many Western leaders are shunning the anniversary events in a show of displeasure over Russia's actions during the crisis in Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists are fighting Ukrainian government forces.


— Reuters