Kim Jong Un left the Russian Far East on Sunday towards the North Korean border, marking the end of a visit to Russia where he displayed his closeness to Vladimir Putin, fueling Western fears of a possible agreement for arms deliveries to Moscow for its assault on Ukraine.

Earlier on Sunday in Vladivostok, the North Korean leader, who arrived on Russian soil on Tuesday for his first trip abroad since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, received a gift of five explosive drones from the governor regional, according to the official TASS agency.

Highly symbolic military gifts in a context of Western fears regarding a potential military agreement between Moscow and Pyongyang.

“The departure ceremony of the leader of the DPRK took place at the Artiom-Primorsky-1 station, where Kim Jong Un’s armored train was already located,” the Ria Novosti agency reported on Sunday using the acronym for the official name of North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea).

In a short video published by Ria, we see Mr. Kim, on his train, waving goodbye to the Russian delegation accompanying him, led by the Minister of Ecology Alexander Kozlov. Then “Farewell from Slavyanka”, a Russian patriotic march, sounds as the train leaves, under a cloudy sky.

“Kim Jong Un’s train headed towards the Khassan border crossing. The distance (…) is approximately 250 kilometers,” TASS said.

Earlier, in addition to five explosive drones, Oleg Kojemiako, the governor of the Primorye region in the Russian Far East, had offered Kim a reconnaissance drone, a bulletproof vest and “special clothing not detectable by cameras thermal”, according to its services cited by TASS.

On Sunday, Mr. Kim also met with North Korean students on the university campus in Vladivostok and attended an aquatic show at the city’s oceanarium.

The official North Korean news agency KCNA described the atmosphere in recent days in the large city of the Russian Far East as “fervent and warm”, “at a time when a new era of friendship, solidarity and cooperation opens in the history of the development of relations between the DPRK and Russia.

“We agreed to meet in November in Pyongyang and organize a meeting of the Russian-Korean intergovernmental commission,” Russian Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Alexander Kozlov said in a statement published on Telegram.

This local sequence closes a visit to Russia that began on Tuesday and was marked by the meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday at the Vostotchny cosmodrome, nearly 8,000 kilometers east of Moscow.

On site, Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un displayed their closeness, the head of the Kremlin even mentioning “prospects” of military cooperation despite international sanctions targeting Pyongyang because of its nuclear and missile development programs.

Kim called strengthening ties between Moscow and Pyongyang a “top priority”.

During their exchange, the two leaders gave each other a rifle, again gifts with symbolic value in the context of the conflict in Ukraine.

During his stay, Kim also attended a “demonstration” of the Russian Pacific Fleet and examined Russian advanced weapons at Knievichi Air Base.

Westerners suspect Moscow of wanting to buy weapons from Pyongyang for the conflict in Ukraine, while North Korea is, for its part, suspected of wanting to acquire Russian technologies for its nuclear and missile programs.

Since then, the Kremlin has assured its side that “no agreement” was signed this week, without however reassuring the West.

Washington, for its part, has repeatedly expressed its “concern” about the possible purchase of North Korean munitions, and Seoul, North Korea’s neighbor, had “firmly warned” against any transaction of this type.

Moscow also mentioned possible aid in the manufacture of satellites, after the failure of two recent attempts by North Korea to place a military spy satellite in orbit, but also proposed sending a North Korean cosmonaut into space. , according to Russian news agencies, which would constitute a first for this country.

Finally, Vladimir Putin accepted an invitation from Mr. Kim to visit North Korea. His head of diplomacy, Sergei Lavrov, is expected in October, according to the Kremlin.

17/09/2023 17:59:44 –         Moscow (AFP) –         © 2023 AFP