From explosive drones to bulletproof vest, gifts North Korea's Kim Jong-un received in Russia
Kim's tour of Russia's far eastern region has primarily focused on military matters, sparking speculation about ammunition procurement for the conflict in Ukraine. While North Korea seeks Russian assistance for its missile program, the Kremlin has denied signing any agreements.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was presented with a unique assortment of gifts during his visit to Russia, including five explosive drones, a reconnaissance drone, and a bulletproof vest, official TASS news agency reported. Kim's trip to Russia, his first official overseas visit since the onset of the pandemic, has raised concerns in the West about potential arms deals and sanctions violations between Moscow and Pyongyang.
During his visit to Vladivostok on Saturday, Kim met with the Russian defence minister and inspected cutting-edge weaponry, including a hypersonic missile system. TASS reported that Kim, under his official title as the leader of the DPRK, received five kamikaze drones and a Geran-25 reconnaissance drone equipped with vertical takeoff capabilities.
The governor of Russia's Primorye region, situated near China and North Korea, also extended the gift of a bulletproof vest and special clothing designed to evade thermal cameras.
Kim's extensive tour of Russia's far eastern region has primarily centred on military matters, evident in his entourage dominated by officers, symbolic rifle exchanges with President Vladimir Putin, and a visit to a fighter jet factory in Komsomolsk-on-Amur.
There is speculation that Moscow may be interested in procuring North Korean ammunition for the conflict in Ukraine, while Pyongyang seeks Russian assistance in advancing its internationally condemned missile program. The Kremlin has publicly stated that no agreements have been or will be signed in this regard.
Additionally, Kim took the time to meet with North Korean students studying in Vladivostok, and North Korea's KCNA news agency has described the visit as fostering a "fervent and warm" atmosphere, signalling the dawn of a "new era of friendship, solidarity, and cooperation" between North Korea and Russia.