Putin visit to North Korea 'being prepared': Kremlin

A visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to North Korea is “being prepared”, the Kremlin told the state-run RIA Novosti news agency on Friday.

Both under heavy Western sanctions, the two countries have moved closer together since Moscow launched its full-scale offensive on Ukraine in February 2022, with Pyongyang accused of sending crucial arms to Moscow.

“President Putin has an active invitation for an official visit to North Korea. The visit is being prepared. We will announce the dates of the trip in due course,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

North Korea has supplied millions of vital artillery shells to Russia to support its offensive in exchange for food deliveries, according to South Korean intelligence.

Washington and Kyiv have also accused Russia of firing ballistic missiles supplied by North Korea at Ukraine.

Kim Jong Un visited Russia last year for a summit with Putin in the Far East to cement the deepening ties, in a rare foreign trip for the reclusive North Korean leader.

Putin last visited Pyongyang in 2000, just months after entering the Kremlin, for a meeting with Kim Jong Il, Kim Jong Un’s father.

The Russian president has also cut his international travel in recent years — both due to the coronavirus pandemic, and then as Russia became more isolated after it sent troops into Ukraine.