Putin Lands in North Korea for Summit with Kim Jong Un

June 18, 2024

Russian president Vladimir Putin arrived in Pyongyang Tuesday for a summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

The two leaders are expected to discuss North Korea’s continued support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Pyongyang has been an ardent supporter of Moscow’s invasion since the war started, supplying munitions to Russian forces. Putin and Kim are also expected to discuss trade agreements in an attempt to circumvent U.S.-led sanctions, which Putin called "illegal, unilateral restrictions" per the Associated Press.

Putin’s visit is part of a series of Russian diplomatic moves in recent months courting former Soviet allies. Cuba hosted four Russian naval vessels this week, and Putin plans to visit Vietnam after concluding talks with Kim.

Reuters reports that Russia’s economic support for North Korea increased since Kim and Putin last met in September. In defiance of U.N. sanctions, North Korea has supplied Moscow with thousands of containers of arms, according to a New York Times report. South Korea and the United States have claimed that Kim’s regime has supplied the Russian Ministry of Defense with as many as five million artillery shells. The Defense Intelligence Agency has also reported on evidence that Russia has used ballistic missiles produced in North Korea in its invasion of Ukraine. To return Kim’s favor, Russia in March at the United Nations voted to do away with international oversight and sanctions on North Korea’s nuclear program.

In an op-ed published in North Korean media, Putin said, "Russia has always supported and will continue to support the DPRK and the heroic Korean people in their opposition to the insidious, dangerous and aggressive enemy."