Vladimir Putin faces a shortage of “Grad” shells and rockets for his Ukraine invasion, while Kim Jong Un aims to modernize his military aircraft and secure affordable fuel and wheat imports. The Kremlin, however, stated on Friday that no formal agreement was reached during Kim Jong Un’s visit.

The Kremlin said Friday that no agreements had been signed during North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s ongoing visit to Russia, amid Western concern that the two isolated countries could be preparing an arms deal.

Kim is on a rare trip out of his reclusive country in the Russian Far East, where he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this week.

Moscow is believed to be interested in buying North Korean ammunition to continue fighting in Ukraine, while Pyongyang wants Russia’s help to develop its missile program.


Western countries have warned Russia and North Korea against striking an arms deal, which would defy sanctions on Pyongyang.

“No agreements were signed and there was no plan to sign any,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

After meeting Kim on Wednesday, Putin said he saw “possibilities” for military cooperation.

As part of his extended tour of the Russian Far East, Kim visited a Russian military aviation factory Friday in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, a key Russian engineering hub, Moscow said.

“We see the potential for cooperation both in the field of aircraft manufacturing and in other industries,” said Russian Deputy Prime Minister Denis Manturov after accompanying Kim around the factories.

“This is especially important for achieving the tasks facing our countries to achieve technological sovereignty,” said Manturov, also the trade and industry minister.

Russia has said that Kim will continue his visit for several more days, without giving a specific time frame.

‘Today we stand together’

Moscow’s and Pyongyang’s ties are rooted in the Soviet Union’s role in the founding of North Korea.

During Kim’s visit, Putin and Russian officials have heavily referenced the 20th century to call for a stronger relationship today, when Moscow is facing unprecedented isolation over its Ukraine offensive.

Khabarovsk regional governor Mikhail Degtyarev, who joined Kim on the jet factory visit, said afterward on Telegram: “Today we stand together against the pressure of the collective West.

US consults Tokyo and Seoul

The White House said Thursday that US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan had spoken with his Japanese and South Korean counterparts to discuss the Putin-Kim meeting.

They noted that any arms exports from North Korea to Russia “would directly violate multiple UN Security Council resolutions, including resolutions that Russia itself voted to adopt”, a White House statement said.

South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin said Friday that Seoul was considering further sanctions against Moscow and Pyongyang if they strike an arms deal.

Katrine Dige Houmøller, with AFP