North Korean leader Kim Jong Un left Russia on Sunday after a rare six-day visit that appeared to solidify his country's ties with President Vladimir Putin, fanning Western fears that Pyongyang could provide Moscow with weapons for its assault on Ukraine.Kim's tour of Russia's Far East, which began on Tuesday, has focused intensely on military cooperation, including a symbolic exchange of rifles with Putin and an inspection of state-of-the-art Russian weapons.
North Korean leader Kim Jong thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin, people and authorities of Russia for hospitality, wrapping up his "official and friendly" visit in Russia, the Voice of Korea radio reports:https://t.co/a86shggFj0 pic.twitter.com/VIxINtW5Oe— TASS (@tassagency_en) September 17, 2023
Kim's first official visit abroad since the coronavirus pandemic has sparked concerns that Moscow and Pyongyang will defy Western sanctions to secure an arms deal that could help the Kremlin continue its assault against Ukraine.In comments broadcast on national television on Sunday, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Russia will pursue cooperation with North Korea despite UN sanctions."We did not announce sanctions against North Korea, the Security Council did," he said. "We will be developing equal, fair interaction with the DPRK," Lavrov said, using North Korea's official name.
Before departing from Vladivostok, the Pacific port city just over the border, Kim was presented with five explosive drones, a reconnaissance drone and a bulletproof vest as gifts from the governor of the Primorye region, which borders China and North Korea.He also visited the Far Eastern State University and appeared particularly pleased as he watched a walrus show at a local oceanarium.