Vladimir Putin and fellow dictator Kim Jong Un formed a ‘blood alliance’ during their arms-deal talks in Russia, raising already heightened fears that North Korea will supply Moscow with much needed ammunition for its war in Ukraine.
Putin has even accepted an invitation to visit North Korea in a growing sign of the Russian warmonger’s desperation to forge ties with Pyongyang amid his gruelling offensive against Kyiv.
The Russian despot had greeted Kim yesterday at Russia’s modern space rocket launch site with an enthusiastic handshake that lasted 40 seconds in a rare summit.
Western officials and a former US general said yesterday that the fact that Putin had to plead with Kim for ageing ammunition and rockets to help with his grinding war in Ukraine is a ‘clear sign of his isolation and desperation’.
And now, Putin has gone one step further and accepted an invitation to visit North Korea ‘with pleasure’ after the two dictators called each other ‘comrades’ as they toasted their future cooperation over a dinner featuring crab dumplings, sturgeon and beef.
Western countries have repeatedly raised concerns of a possible arms agreement between Russia and North Korea, as Moscow’s war in Ukraine grinds on.
And experts have now warned that Kim’s visit to Russia is a sign that the relations between the two dictatorships have ‘completely returned to the level of blood alliance during the Cold War’.
Vladimir Putin and fellow dictator Kim Jong Un formed a ‘blood alliance’ during their arms-deal talks in Russia, raising already heightened fears that North Korea will supply Moscow with much needed ammunition for its war in Ukraine
Putin and Kim Jong Un laugh together during a visit to the Vostochny cosmodrome outside the city of Tsiolkovsky on Wednesday
Kim Jong Un laugh together during a trip to Vostochny in Russia during which they formed ‘blood alliance’
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meets Russia’s President Vladimir Putin at the Vostochny cosmodrome on Wednesday
‘The summit signals a seismic change in the Northeast Asian geopolitics,’ said Kim Jong-dae, a former MP and visiting scholar at Yonsei Institute for North Korean Studies.
A stronger alliance between North Korea, Russia and China could become a ‘destabilising force in the region’, and ammunition from Pyongyang could significantly impact the war in Ukraine.
‘I think Russia has already tested the North Korean shells in battlefields and is now ready to expand its use going forward. And neither the US nor South Korea has come to grips with the implications of such an arms deal between Russia and the North,’ he said.
Russia became a pariah in the West after invading Ukraine last year and has looked to strengthen alliances with other leaders facing similar isolation.
Putin on Wednesday praised the ‘strengthening of cooperation and friendship between our countries’, while hosting Kim at a spaceport in Russia’s far east.
He also said Moscow could help Pyongyang build satellites – after the North failed twice recently to put a military spy satellite into orbit.
In Washington, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said any cooperation would be ‘quite troubling and would potentially be in violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions’.
Kim, who travelled overland to Russia in his bullet-proof train, was accompanied by a military-heavy entourage, with top Russian military officials including Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu also involved in the talks.
‘With Kim Jong Un’s latest visit to Russia, North Korea-Russia relations can be said to have completely returned to the level of blood alliance during the Cold War,’ Cheong Seong-chang, researcher at the Sejong Institute, told AFP.
‘There have been many summit meetings between North Korea and Russia so far, but there has never been a time when North Korea brought in almost all of its key military officials like the one happening right now.’
Putin has even accepted an invitation to visit North Korea in a growing sign of the Russian warmonger’s desperation to forge ties with Pyongyang amid his gruelling offensive against Kyiv
Putin and Kim smile and shake hands as the Russian despot welcomes Kim to Russia
Putin, second left, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visit the Vostochny cosmodrome outside the city of Tsiolkovsky
After touring a space centre and attending a lavish banquet in his honour, Kim ‘courteously invited Putin to visit the DPRK at a convenient time’, state-run KCNA said, referring to the country by its official name
During the dinner, a fawning Kim praised the ‘heroic’ Russian army’s ‘virtue and honour’ on the front lines of Putin ‘s ‘sacred struggle’ in Ukraine
Among the results of the leaders’ summit were Russian promises of help with North Korea’s fledgling space programme, according to Russian news agencies, while Putin told reporters he saw ‘possibilities’ for military cooperation.
But Ben Hodges, former commander of US forces in Europe, said that the fact that Putin is having to ‘plead for ammunition’ from Kim to help with his grinding war in Ukraine is a ‘clear sign of his isolation and desperation’.
And James O’Brien, head of the Office of Sanctions Coordination at the U.S. State Department, said Russia was ‘scraping the bottom of the barrel looking for help because it’s having trouble sustaining its military,’
General Hodges added that while the Russian warmonger would hope that the supply of such ammunition would help with his assault, it will only ‘extend his war efforts for a few more months’ in a move that will see ‘thousands more Russian soldiers die for no reason other than Putin’s personal ambitions’.
Historic allies, Russia and North Korea are both under rafts of global sanctions – Moscow for its Ukraine conflict, Pyongyang for its nuclear tests – with Kim’s visit sparking widespread concern over illicit arms agreements.
The head of South Korea’s ruling party slammed what he called ‘a devil’s deal’ between Moscow and Pyongyang, with Japan warning Thursday against any violations of UN bans on arms deals with the North after Putin-Kim talks.
‘We are watching (the talks) with concerns including the possibility that it could lead to violations of the Security Council’s ban on all arms-related material transactions with North Korea,’ new Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa told reporters.
After touring a space centre and attending a lavish banquet in his honour, Kim ‘courteously invited Putin to visit the DPRK at a convenient time’, state-run KCNA said, referring to the country by its official name.
‘Putin accepted the invitation with pleasure and reaffirmed his will to invariably carry forward the history and tradition of the Russia-DPRK friendship.’
Putin on Wednesday praised the ‘strengthening of cooperation and friendship between our countries’, while hosting Kim at a spaceport in Russia’s far east
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (L) visit a construction site of the Angara rocket launch complex on Wednesday
During the dinner, a fawning Kim praised the ‘heroic’ Russian army’s ‘virtue and honour’ on the front lines of Putin’s ‘sacred struggle’ in Ukraine.
In gushing praise for Putin’s war, which has seen thousands of Ukrainians killed and entire neighbourhoods destroyed, Kim said he was ‘certain’ Moscow will win a ‘great victory’ against Ukraine.
‘I am deeply convinced that the heroic Russian army and people will certainly win a great victory in the sacred struggle to punish the gathering of evil,’ Kim said as he raised a glass to toast the victory of ‘great Russia’ during the dinner hosted by Putin.
Kim added that Russia would triumph against ‘evil’, in what he cast as the West’s imperialism in the war in Ukraine.
In response, Putin stood up and raised his glass whilst saying: ‘A toast to the future strengthening of cooperation and friendship between our countries.
‘For the wellbeing and prosperity of our nations, for the health of the chairman and all of those present.’
‘An old friend is better than two new ones,’ Putin added, quoting a Russian proverb and referencing the Soviet Union’s role in the Korean War.
Kim was speaking after four hours of talks with Putin, during which it is understood they discussed Russia’s requirement for artillery shells and anti-tank missiles. In return, North Korea wants the Kremlin to share its submarine and satellite technology secrets.
The leaders met at the Vostochny spaceport in Russia’s far eastern Amur region, where Kim was given a tour of the facilities. The despot, who travelled from North Korea on his customised armoured train, is expected to visit other Russian military sites.
Putin said Kim will inspect an aircraft plant at Komsomolsk-on-Amur and ships from Russia’s Pacific Fleet in a harbour at Vladivostok.