July 19, 2024

Vladimir Putin beamed as he was greeted by Kim Jong-Un after touching town in North Korea early on Wednesday morning.

Kim rolled out the red carpet for the Russian despot with a glitzy welcome ceremony at an airport in Pyongyang.

The two dictators were pictured shaking hands and hugging each other on the runway before entering the same limousine which set off behind a huge motorcade involving dozens of motorbikes.

Kim and Putin then travelled together to Pyongyang’s Kumsusan State Guest House, North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency said. 

The agency described their meeting as a historic event that demonstrates the ‘invincibility and durability’ of the two nations’ friendship and unity. 

Making his first trip to North Korea in 24 years, Putin said that he appreciates the country’s firm support of his military actions in Ukraine. The Kremlin launched a full-scale invasion of the neighbouring country in 2022.

He said the countries would continue to ‘resolutely oppose’ what he described as Western ambitions ‘to hinder the establishment of a multipolar world order based on justice, mutual respect for sovereignty, considering each other’s interests’.

Vladimir Putin beamed as he was greeted by Kim Jong-Un after touching town in North Korea

Putin is seen with Kim Jong-Un after arriving in North Korea

Putin is seen with Kim Jong-Un after arriving in North Korea 

Kim Jong Un walks with Russian President Putin during a welcoming ceremony upon Putin's arrival

Kim Jong Un walks with Russian President Putin during a welcoming ceremony upon Putin’s arrival

Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un step into into a limousine, which is part of a massive motorcade, after walking down a red carpet

Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un step into into a limousine, which is part of a massive motorcade, after walking down a red carpet

Putin and Kim Jong Un walk past honour guards during a welcoming ceremony at an airport in Pyongyang, North Korea

Putin and Kim Jong Un walk past honour guards during a welcoming ceremony at an airport in Pyongyang, North Korea

Putin is welcomed upon his arrival to meet with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un

Putin is welcomed upon his arrival to meet with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un

Kim Jong Un walks with Russian President Putin as they meet in Pyongyang

Kim Jong Un walks with Russian President Putin as they meet in Pyongyang

Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un

Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un

An airport during a ceremony welcoming Russia's President Vladimir Putin in Pyongyang

An airport during a ceremony welcoming Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in Pyongyang

Kim Jong Un waits for Russia's President Putin, who disembarks from a plane during a welcoming ceremony at an airport in Pyongyang, North Korea

Kim Jong Un waits for Russia’s President Putin, who disembarks from a plane during a welcoming ceremony at an airport in Pyongyang, North Korea

Honour guards take part in a ceremony welcoming Russia's President Putin at an airport in Pyongyang, North Korea

Honour guards take part in a ceremony welcoming Russia’s President Putin at an airport in Pyongyang, North Korea

Kim Jong Un stands waiting to meet Putin at the Pyongyang Sunan International Airport

Kim Jong Un stands waiting to meet Putin at the Pyongyang Sunan International Airport

Kim Jong Un waits for Putin, who disembarks from a plane during a welcoming ceremony at an airport in Pyongya

Kim Jong Un waits for Putin, who disembarks from a plane during a welcoming ceremony at an airport in Pyongya

Putin smiled as he was greeted by Kim Jong-Un after arriving in North Korea after praising the dictator's support of his invasion of Ukraine

 Putin smiled as he was greeted by Kim Jong-Un after arriving in North Korea after praising the dictator’s support of his invasion of Ukraine

The two men were pictured shaking hands and hugging each other on the runway before leaving the airport in the same car

Russia's President Vladimir Putin is greeted by North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un during a welcoming ceremony at an airport in Pyongyang, North Korea June 19, 2024

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is greeted by North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un during a welcoming ceremony at an airport in Pyongyang, North Korea June 19, 2024

Russia's President Vladimir Putin greets delegation members as North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un stands nearby during a welcoming ceremony at an airport in Pyongyang, North Korea June 19, 2024

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin greets delegation members as North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un stands nearby during a welcoming ceremony at an airport in Pyongyang, North Korea June 19, 2024

Mr Putin’s visit comes amid growing concerns about an arms arrangement in which Pyongyang provides Moscow with badly needed munitions to fuel Russia’s war in Ukraine in exchange for economic assistance and technology transfers that would enhance the threat posed by Kim’s nuclear weapons and missile program. 

In the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, the streets were decorated with portraits of Putin and Russian flags.

A banner on a building said: ‘We warmly welcome the President of the Russian Federation.’

Mr Putin also said in his published remarks that Russia and North Korea will develop trade and payment systems ‘that are not controlled by the West’ and jointly oppose sanctions against the countries, which he described as ‘illegal, unilateral restrictions’.

Moscow and Pyongyang have been allies since North Korea‘s founding after World War II and have drawn even closer since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022 led to the West isolating Putin internationally.

The United States and its allies have accused North Korea of supplying Russia with much-needed arms, including ballistic missiles to use in Ukraine, which mocked the growing relationship between the two nations. 

The North has denied giving Russia military hardware but, ahead of his trip, Putin thanked Kim Jong Un‘s government for helping the war effort.

‘We highly appreciate that the DPRK (North Korea) is firmly supporting the special military operations of Russia being conducted in Ukraine,’ Putin wrote in an article published by Pyongyang’s state media on Tuesday.

Russia and the North are ‘now actively developing the many-sided partnership’, Putin wrote.     

Both countries are under rafts of UN sanctions – Pyongyang since 2006 over banned nuclear and ballistic missile programmes and Moscow over the invasion of Ukraine.

Vladimir Putin is welcomed by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un upon his arrival at an airport in Pyongyang

Vladimir Putin is welcomed by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un upon his arrival at an airport in Pyongyang

Putin talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during his visit to Pyongyang

Putin talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during his visit to Pyongyang

Putin smiled brightly as he hugged Kim Jong-Un after arriving at the airport in Pyongyang

Putin smiled brightly as he hugged Kim Jong-Un after arriving at the airport in Pyongyang

Putin prepares to sit into a limousine with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un

Putin prepares to sit into a limousine with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un

Putin and Kim Jong Un were all smiles as the Russian president arrived for a State visit

Putin and Kim Jong Un were all smiles as the Russian president arrived for a State visit

Putin praised North Korea for ‘defending their interests very effectively despite the US economic pressure, provocation, blackmail and military threats that have lasted for decades’.

He also hailed Moscow and Pyongyang for ‘maintaining the common line and stand at the UN’.

North Korea said the visit showed bilateral ties ‘are getting stronger day by day’, the official Korean Central News Agency reported, and would ‘give fresh vitality to the development of the good-neighbourly cooperative relations between the two countries’.  

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba urged the international community to counter ‘the lonely bromance’ between Putin and Kim by increasing arms supplies to Kyiv.

‘The best way to respond to it is to continue strengthening the diplomatic coalition for just and lasting peace in Ukraine and delivering more Patriots and ammunition to Ukraine,’ Kuleba told AFP.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Putin’s trip showed how he was ‘dependent’ on authoritarian leaders.

‘Their closest friends and the biggest supporters of the Russian war effort – war of aggression – (are) North Korea, Iran and China,’ Stoltenberg said. 

North Korea is eager for high-end military technology to advance its nuclear, missile, satellite and nuclear-powered submarine programmes, according to experts.

Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov said the two leaders would possibly sign a ‘comprehensive strategic partnership treaty’ to outline cooperation on ‘security issues’, state-run Russian news agencies reported.

Huge banners with a smiling photograph of the Russian leader reading 'we ardently welcome President Putin!' were hung from lamp-posts across Pyongyang alongside Russian flags, images in Russian state media showed

Huge banners with a smiling photograph of the Russian leader reading ‘we ardently welcome President Putin!’ were hung from lamp-posts across Pyongyang alongside Russian flags, images in Russian state media showed

Kim rolled out the red carpet for Putin with a welcome ceremony at an airport in Pyongyang

Kim rolled out the red carpet for Putin with a welcome ceremony at an airport in Pyongyang

Newsreel footage showed Putin touching down in North Korea on Tuesday for his first trip to the isolated nation in 24 years

Newsreel footage showed Putin touching down in North Korea on Tuesday for his first trip to the isolated nation in 24 years

Russian despot Vladimir Putin (pictured, right) praised North Korea for 'firmly supporting' his brutal invasion of Ukraine

Russian despot Vladimir Putin (pictured, right) praised North Korea for ‘firmly supporting’ his brutal invasion of Ukraine

The North has denied giving Russia military hardware but, ahead of his trip, Putin thanked Kim Jong Un 's government for helping the war effort

The North has denied giving Russia military hardware but, ahead of his trip, Putin thanked Kim Jong Un ‘s government for helping the war effort

Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov said the two leaders would possibly sign a 'comprehensive strategic partnership treaty' to outline cooperation on 'security issues' (File image)

Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov said the two leaders would possibly sign a ‘comprehensive strategic partnership treaty’ to outline cooperation on ‘security issues’ (File image)

An overnight drone attack set several oil storage tanks ablaze near the town of Azov in southern Russia on Tuesday

An overnight drone attack set several oil storage tanks ablaze near the town of Azov in southern Russia on Tuesday

North Korea could promise ‘to provide Russia with continuing supplies of artillery, guided rockets for multiple rocket launchers, and short-range missiles to support Russia’s operations in Ukraine’, Bruce Bennett, senior defence analyst at RAND Corporation, told Yonhap.

In return, it will want ‘Russia to provide a variety of advanced technologies’, he said, plus ‘a substantial flow of Russian oil and food products along with hard currency payments’.

Despite this, North Korea has described allegations of supplying weapons to Russia as ‘absurd’.

However, it did thank Russia for using its UN veto in March to effectively end monitoring of sanctions violations just as UN experts were starting to probe alleged arms transfers.

The United States voiced ‘concern’ on Monday about the trip because of the security implications for South Korea as well as Ukraine.

The two Koreas have remained technically at war since their 1950-53 conflict and the border dividing them is one of the most heavily fortified in the world.

‘We know North Korean ballistic missiles are still being used to hit Ukrainian targets (and) there could be some reciprocity here that could affect security on the Korean peninsula,’ National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters.

Ukraine did not immediately claim responsibility but it has carried out similar attacks on Russian energy facilities before

Ukraine did not immediately claim responsibility but it has carried out similar attacks on Russian energy facilities before

Officials did not say how many drones were involved in the attack

Officials did not say how many drones were involved in the attack

Video published by the emergencies ministry showed thick smoke and flames billowing out of what appeared to be multiple oil storage tanks in an undisclosed location

Video published by the emergencies ministry showed thick smoke and flames billowing out of what appeared to be multiple oil storage tanks in an undisclosed location

Highlighting those security concerns, South Korea said its troops fired at soldiers from the North who briefly crossed the border on Tuesday then retreated.

The South’s military said it believed the North Korean soldiers accidentally crossed as they were fortifying the border, but said some of them were wounded after detonating landmines.

It comes as an overnight drone attack set several oil storage tanks ablaze near the town of Azov in southern Russia on Tuesday, sparking a large fire, local officials said.

Ukraine did not immediately claim responsibility but it has carried out similar attacks on Russian energy facilities before, arguing they are fair targets given that they fuel Moscow’s military.

‘Oil product tanks caught fire in Azov as a result of a drone attack. According to preliminary data, there were no casualties,’ the governor of the local Rostov region, Vasily Golubev, said on Telegram.

Video published by the emergencies ministry showed thick smoke and flames billowing out of what appeared to be multiple oil storage tanks in an undisclosed location.

Officials did not say how many drones were involved in the attack.

Some 200 firefighters and emergency personnel were deployed to deal with the blaze, which spanned an area of at least 3,200 square metres (3,800 square yards), the emergencies ministry said.

The Rostov region sits directly across the border from Ukrainian and is home to the operational headquarters overseeing Russia’s invasion.

On the battlefield, Ukraine said that Russian forces were fighting to enter the outskirts of Chasiv Yar, a flashpoint town of the war in the east whose capture could accelerate Russian advances.

Ukraine’s eastern region of Donetsk, where war-scarred Chasiv Yar lies, has borne the brunt of fighting over more than two years and the Kremlin claims the region is part of Russia.

‘The enemy keeps trying to advance to the microdistrict Novy in the town of Chasiv Yar,’ Ukraine’s military said in a briefing, adding that fighting was ‘currently taking place’.

The South Korean military said it fired the shots to repel North Korean soldiers who temporarily crossed the rivals' land border

The South Korean military said it fired the shots to repel North Korean soldiers who temporarily crossed the rivals’ land border

They said an estimated 20 to 30 North Korean soldiers, while engaging in unspecified construction work on the northern side of the border

They said an estimated 20 to 30 North Korean soldiers, while engaging in unspecified construction work on the northern side of the border

Further south, it said Moscow’s forces were also pushing towards Pokrovsk, where they were closing in on a key road that would complicate supplies between strategic hubs in the region. 

Ukraine’s air force meanwhile said it had downed 10 Iranian-designed attack drones launched by Russian forces overnight.

South Korea this morning revealed Multiple North Korean soldiers have been killed or injured in a landmine explosion inside the Demilitarized Zone as South Korea fired warning shots. 

The South Korean military said it fired the shots to repel North Korean soldiers  who temporarily crossed the rivals’ land border for the second time this month.

They said an estimated 20 to 30 North Korean soldiers, while engaging in unspecified construction work on the northern side of the border, crossed the military demarcation line that bisects the countries at around 8.30am local time.

The North Korean soldiers then retreated after the South broadcasted warnings and fired shots, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said, adding that they did not see any suspicious activity after. 

As they fled, an unspecified number of North Korean soldiers were injured in a landmine explosion, the Yonhap News Agency reports, according to the AFP.

‘North Korean military suffers multiple casualties due to a mine explosion during work,’ the report said, without giving further details.

The Joint Chiefs said they don’t believe the North Korean soldiers intruded the border intentionally and that the North did not return fire.

They noted that the North has been increasing construction activity in frontline border areas, such as installing suspected anti-tank barriers, reinforcing roads and planting land mines.