Vladimir Putin’s willingness to overlook Kim Jong Un’s nuclear ambitions speaks to his focus on Ukraine victory


Vladimir Putin's willingness to overlook Kim Jong Un's nuclear ambitions speaks to his focus on Ukraine victory

Vladimir Putin told state TV after his meetings with Kim Jong Un that Russia remained fully in compliance with the “restrictions” on military cooperation with North Korea.

“But there are things, of course, that we can talk about,” he said.

The West is worried this was an arms deal – North Korean munitions in exchange for Russian military-technical know-how, with a bit of humanitarian aid thrown in.

Putin offers Kim limo ride; pair’s body language analysed – latest updates

And whatever Mr Putin says, actions speak louder than words.

The Vostochny Cosmodrome is a jewel in Russia’s space program, albeit tarnished by the recent failure of Luna-25. It is a place that few people, let alone foreigners, get to go to and you don’t get tours of secretive Russian space facilities for no reason.

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What does North Korea want from Vladimir Putin and Russia?

On Thursday, Mr Kim will be taken on a tour of Russian civilian and military aviation factories, he will be treated to a display by Russia’s Pacific fleet, and will visit a lab focused on marine biology. Same applies.

These tours provide valuable insights if the acquisition of military and space technology is your strategic priority – and they don’t come for free.

Vladimir Putin's willingness to overlook Kim Jong Un's nuclear ambitions speaks to his focus on Ukraine victory

“The meeting at the cosmodrome is a bold hint to the West that North Korea, which has nuclear warheads will, thanks to Russia, also have a means of guaranteeing their delivery.”

That was the comment from Moskovsky Komsomolets, a state tabloid, which does not make for sanguine reading.

Garnering weapons and ammunition from North Korea may help Russia prolong its war but enabling North Korea to enhance its missile programme is hardly in Mr Putin’s interests.

Mr Putin knows that Kim Jong Un is a dangerous man and that the world will be ill-served if his missiles can deliver nuclear warheads the world over. The fact he appears prepared to overlook that speaks to his myopic focus on victory in Ukraine at the expense of his own country’s long-term interests.


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