Seoul, September 16
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspected Russian nuclear-capable bombers and other warplanes in Russia’s Far East on Saturday as he continued a trip that has sparked Western concerns about an arms alliance that could fuel Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine.
After arriving in the city of Artyom by train, Kim travelled to an airport just outside the seaside city of Vladivostok, where Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and other senior military officials gave him an up-close look at Russia’s strategic bombers and other warplanes.
Seemingly all of the Russian warplanes shown to Kim on Saturday were among those that have seen active use in the war in Ukraine, including the Tu-160, Tu-95 and Tu-22 bombers that have regularly launched cruise missiles.
Shoigu, who had met Kim during a rare visit to North Korea in July, also showed Kim one of Russia’s latest missiles, the hypersonic Kinzhal carried by the MiG-31 fighter jet, according to Russia’s Defence Ministry.
Kim’s visit to Russia, highlighted by a summit with Putin on Wednesday, comes amid momentum in military cooperation between the countries in which North Korea could potentially seek Russian technologies to advance Kim’s military nuclear programme in exchange for providing Russia with badly needed munitions.
Later in Vladivostok, Kim was expected to see Russian naval ships of the country’s Pacific fleet, which could be another hint at what he wants from Russia, possibly in exchange for supplying munitions to refill Putin’s declining reserves. — AP
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