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Russia’s Putin invites North Korea’s Kim to Russia

Negotiations between the delegations of the two countries are planned during the visit, as well as a one-on-one meeting with Putin, “if necessary.”
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The Kremlin has announced that Kim Jong Un will travel to Russia amid Western concerns that the North Korean strongman will provide military support for President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine.

On its website, the Kremlin said the visit would happen in “the coming days.”

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said negotiations between the delegations of the two countries are planned during Kim’s visit, as well as a one-on-one meeting with Putin, “if necessary,” according to the state news agency RIA.

The North Korean state news agency also reported that Kim would be visiting Russia “soon” and added definitively that the two leaders would meet.

“During the visit the comrade Kim Jong Un will be meeting comrade Putin and hold a summit,” KCNA reported.

Last week, U.S. officials said that potential arms sales from the North to Moscow were discussed when Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu visited Pyongyang this summer and that the discussions were likely to continue to include “leader-level diplomatic engagement in Russia.”

The Kremlin and North Korean state media had kept mum ahead of the visit. The last time the two leaders met was in 2019, when Putin hosted Kim in the far eastern city of Vladivostok.

Russian state media reported earlier Monday that Putin had arrived in Vladivostok, nearly 430 miles northeast of Pyongyang, to take part in Russia’s Eastern Economic Forum this week.

Russia’s war in Ukraine has failed to progress substantially for either side since Kyiv launched its counteroffensive in June.

As Kyiv has pressed its Western allies to maintain the flow of military aid, increasingly isolated Moscow has also looked for help elsewhere, including U.S. adversaries Iran and North Korea, for new supplies of arms to sustain its incessant shelling of Ukrainian towns and cities.

Last month, the White House said that arms negotiations between North Korea and Russia were “actively advancing” and that Kim and Putin had exchanged letters pledging to increase their cooperation. Any arms deals Pyongyang and Moscow reach would violate multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions.

The Pentagon said Monday that “some type of meeting” was expected between Kim and Putin.

“As far as the details of that meeting and what will be discussed and when and where, I just don’t have any information to provide,” spokesperson Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters.

“We remain concerned that North Korea is contemplating providing any type of ammunition or materiel support to Russia, in support of their war against Ukraine,” he added.

The possible arms talks with the North come at a critical time for Ukraine’s counteroffensive, which could be mired by changing weather conditions despite Kyiv’s pledge to push on regardless.

Kim has not ventured abroad since the coronavirus pandemic, while Putin also appears to have curtailed his rare international appearances after he become the subject of an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court for the alleged illegal deportation of Ukrainian children