North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is on his way to Russia for an official visit at the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Kremlin confirmed on Monday.
Kim would be arriving in Russia “in the next few days”, the Kremlin said in a statement.
South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported that Kim’s personal train had already left the North Korean capital Pyongyang for the city of Vladivostok in Russia’s Far East, citing the South Korean government.
Russian state media reported earlier on Monday that Kim was expected to reach the Russian Far East in the next couple of days.
This will be the first visit to Russia since 2019 for the reclusive North Korean dictator, who rarely leaves the country.
The New York Times reported last week that Kim planned to attend the Eastern Economic Forum being held between 10-13 September in Vladivostok.
Putin and Kim are expected to discuss a potential arms sale by Pyongyang to Moscow that would include much-needed artillery shells and anti-tank missiles to bolster its forces in Ukraine, according to US officials quoted by New York Times.
Kim is also reportedly hoping to broker a deal that would see Russia supply North Korea with food aid, as well as “advanced technology for satellites and nuclear-powered submarines”.