Kim received five explosive drones, a reconnaissance drone and a bulletproof vest
By Anders Hagstrom
North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un departed Russia after a six-day trip on Sunday, leaving with some explosive weaponry as gifts.
Kim met with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss a potential arms deal, though no agreement has yet been signed. Before Kim departed on his armored train, however, a regional Russian governor gifted him with five explosive “kamikaze” drones, a reconnaissance drone and a bulletproof vest, according to Russian state media.
North Korean state news agency KCNA described the trip as a “fervent and warm” meeting between the two countries. Russia is believed to be interested in an arms deal to refill its slimming supply of arms as its invasion of Ukraine continues.
The visit was Kim’s first official trip abroad since the coronavirus pandemic.
Kim met directly with Putin early last week as the pair toured a space launch facility. Kim visited several sites in Russia’s far east during the trip and was later pictured touring a sanctioned fighter jet plant.
“We have shown one of our leading aircraft plants to the leader of [North Korea],” Russian Deputy Prime Minister Denis Manturov said, according to The Associated Press. “We are seeing potential for cooperation in the aircraft-making and other industries, which is particularly acute for solving our countries’ task of achieving technological sovereignty.”
The plant is part of Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation, an organization the U.S. has sanctioned as part of its response to the Ukraine war.
North Korean media claimed that Putin has also accepted an invitation to visit North Korea in the near future, though the Kremlin has yet to confirm the agreement.
“At the end of the reception, Kim Jong Un courteously invited Putin to visit the DPRK at a convenient time,” KCNA claimed Thursday.
“Putin accepted the invitation with pleasure and reaffirmed his will to invariably carry forward the history and tradition of the Russia-DPRK friendship,” it added.
Kim pledged North Korea’s full support for Russia’s “sacred struggle” in Ukraine during his in-person meeting with Putin. No formal arms deal has been reached, however, according to Moscow.