Putin has graciously accepted Kim invitation to visit North Korea. The invitation was made during a summit in eastern Russia where Calling each other “comrades”, the two leaders toasted their friendship with Russian wine after the 70-year-old Putin showed Kim, 39, around Russia’s most modern space launch facility .

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Putin “gratefully” accepted the invite and that Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov would travel to Pyongyang in October, since Putin rarely travelled abroad, after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

The close relationship of Putin and Kim can be traced to 1948 when North Korea was founded with the backing of the Soviet Union, and Moscow supported it for decades during the Cold War, though support dropped off after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

In recent years, China has been seen as the power with the most influence over Kim, but Pyongyang’s leaders have often tried to balance ties with both Moscow and Beijing.

After taking over from Boris Yeltsin in 1999, Putin visited Pyongyang in July 2000 for a meeting with Kim Jong Il, the father of Kim Jong Un.

The U.S. and it allies are concerned that a revived Moscow-Pyongyang axis could bolster Russia’s military in Ukraine and provide Kim sensitive missile technology for the advancement of North Korea’s satellite programme.

Washington has accused North Korea of providing arms to Russia, but it is unclear whether any deliveries have been made, since North Korea have large stockpile of artillery shells and rockets compatible with Soviet-era weapons, as well as a history of producing such ammunition.

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