North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has told Russian President Vladimir Putin that he was confident Russia would achieve a “great victory” over its adversaries, as Ukraine’s Western allies warned of a potential Russian arms deal with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
After initiating full-scale hostilities in Ukraine last year, Russia became a pariah in the West and has sought to develop alliances with other authoritarian leaders shunned by democratic countries.
“We are confident that the Russian army and people will win a great victory in the just fight to punish evil groups who pursue hegemony, expansion, and ambition,” Kim told Putin, raising a toast during an official dinner following one-on-one talks on Wednesday.
Kim also lauded the “heroic” Russian army in remarks that Moscow-sponsored news outlets understood as clearly referring to Moscow’s large-scale military action in Ukraine.
While receiving Kim at a Far East spaceport, Putin welcomed “the future strengthening of cooperation and friendship between our countries,” and later told reporters that he saw “possibilities” for military collaboration with North Korea.
He had previously stated that Moscow could assist Pyongyang in the development of satellites and that the two nations may consider military cooperation. According to US officials and experts, Russia is interested in purchasing North Korean munitions for use in Ukraine. Both leaders reaffirmed Russia’s and Pyongyang’s historical connections.
“We will always be with Russia,” Kim said, according to footage broadcast on Russian TV.
“An old friend is better than two new ones,” Putin said, quoting a Russian proverb and referencing the Soviet Union’s role in the Korean War.
Their talks, as well as conversations with delegates, lasted about two hours before the leaders went to Kim’s official dinner. Putin revealed that Kim will later oversee a demonstration of Russia’s Pacific fleet’s capabilities in Vladivostok.
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