The Kremlin has announced that Kim Jong Un will travel to Russia amid Western concerns that the North Korean strongman will provide military support for President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine.
On its website, the Kremlin said the visit would happen in “the coming days.”
Last week, U.S. officials said potential arms sales from the North to Moscow were discussed when Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu visited Pyongyang earlier this summer, and that these discussions are likely to continue to include “leader-level diplomatic engagement in Russia.”
The Kremlin and North Korean state media had kept mum ahead of the visit.
Russia’s war in Ukraine has failed to achieve substantial progress for either side since Ukraine launched its counteroffensive in June.
As Kyiv has pressed its Western allies to maintain the flow of military aid, increasingly isolated Moscow has also looked for help elsewhere, including U.S. adversaries Iran and North Korea, for new supplies of arms to sustain its incessant shelling of Ukrainian towns and cities.
Last month, the White House said that arms negotiations between North Korea and Russia were “actively advancing,” and that Kim and Putin had exchanged letters pledging to increase their cooperation. Should Pyongyang and Moscow reach any arm deals, they would violate multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions.
The possible arms talks with the North come at a critical time for Ukraine’s counteroffensive, which could be mired by changing weather conditions despite Kyiv’s pledge to push on regardless.
Kim has not ventured abroad from the reclusive state since the pandemic, while Putin also appears to have curtailed his rare international appearances after becoming subject of an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court for the alleged illegal deportation of the Ukrainian children.