Putin arrives in North Korea on first state visit for over 20 years — Novaya Gazeta Europe
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Putin arrives in North Korea on first state visit for over 20 years

Vladimir Putin’s motorcade passes Pyongyang’s Arch of Triumph, 19 June 2024. Photo: EPA-EFE / GAVRIIL GRIGOROV / SPUTNIK / KREMLIN POOL

Vladimir Putin’s motorcade passes Pyongyang’s Arch of Triumph, 19 June 2024. Photo: EPA-EFE / GAVRIIL GRIGOROV / SPUTNIK / KREMLIN POOL 

Vladimir Putin arrived in Pyongyang in the early hours of Wednesday for a two-day state visit to North Korea, Russia’s state-owned news agency TASS has reported.

As the North Korean capital decorated its streets for the occasion with Russian flags and portraits of Putin, North Korean state media published articles praising the war in Ukraine as a “sacred war of all Russian citizens”.

Rodong Sinmum also published an article authored by Putin, in which he hailed Pyongyang’s support for the Russian war in Ukraine and for being Moscow’s “committed and like-minded supporter, ready to confront the ambition of the collective West”.

Prior to his arrival in Pyongyang, Putin tasked the Russian Foreign Ministry with signing a Strategic Partnership Agreement with North Korea, which, according to Kremlin aide Yury Ushakov in comments quoted by Interfax, is set to “ensure greater stability in the Northeast Asia region”.

Putin’s visit, which was only announced by the Kremlin on Monday, follows a visit to the Russian Far East by North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in September, which sparked concerns about a potential arms deal being discussed by the two states, backed by recent reports of North Korea supplying Russia with artillery shells and ballistic missiles to bolster its dwindling munitions.

At a joint press conference in Washington with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday, NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg said that Putin’s visit to Pyongyang “demonstrates and confirms the very close alignment between Russia and authoritarian states like North Korea, but also China and Iran” and accused all three countries of “propping up” and “fuelling Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine”.

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