The Kremlin has announced that Kim Jong Un will travel to Russia amid Western concerns that the North Korean strongman will provide military support to President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine.
On its website, the Kremlin said the visit would take place “in the coming days.”
Last week, U.S. officials said potential arms sales from the North to Moscow were discussed when Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu visited Pyongyang earlier this summer, and that these discussions are likely to continue to include “leadership-level diplomatic engagement in Russia.”
The Kremlin and North Korean state media remained mum on the visit.
Russia’s war in Ukraine has failed to produce substantial progress for either side since Ukraine launched its counteroffensive in June.
As Kiev has pressed its Western allies to maintain the flow of military aid, an increasingly isolated Moscow has also turned elsewhere, including U.S. adversaries Iran and North Korea, for new weapons supplies to stop the incessant shelling of Ukrainian villages and support cities.
Last month, the White House said that arms negotiations between North Korea and Russia are “actively progressing,” and that Kim and Putin had exchanged letters pledging to deepen their cooperation. If Pyongyang and Moscow conclude an arms deal, they would violate several United Nations Security Council resolutions.
The possible arms talks with the North come at a critical time for Ukraine’s counteroffensive, which could be disrupted by changing weather conditions despite Kiev’s pledge to press ahead no matter what.
Kim has not ventured abroad from the reclusive state since the pandemic, while Putin also appears to have curtailed his rare international appearances after becoming the subject of an International Criminal Court arrest warrant over the alleged illegal deportation of Ukraine’s children .
This article was originally published on NBCNews.com