North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is set to travel to Russia this month to meet with President Vladimir Putin about supplying weapons for the war in Ukraine.
Putin is hoping to secure artillery shells and antitank missiles from Kim. In exchange, North Korea is looking for advanced satellite technology as well as food aid for his people.
The meeting will reportedly take place in Vladivostok, which is just 50 kilometers from North Korea’s border with Russia. Kim will likely travel there by armored train for his September 10-13 visit.
North Korea celebrates the 75th anniversary of its founding on September 9.
Last week, the White House warned that Putin and Kim had been exchanging letters regarding an arms deal, with National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby cautioning that “high-level discussions” were likely to follow.
U.S. officials have asserted that global sanctions have severely restricted Russia’s supply chains and forced Moscow to look for other sources of weapons as its war in Ukraine enters into its 19th month. Russian troops on the front lines have reportedly had to improvise to repair damaged weapons tech, including using parts from kitchen appliances like dishwashers and refrigerators.
Another National Security Counsel spokesperson, Adrienne Watson, has issued a statement urging North Korea “to cease its arms negotiations with Russia and abide by the public commitments that Pyongyang has made to not provide or sell arms to Russia.”