Putin Expresses Gratitude to Kim Jong Un for Supporting Ukraine Invasion as Nations Form Mutual Defense Pact

Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong Un signed a mutual aid pact on Wednesday, deepening ties between the two nations to a level unseen since the fall of the Soviet Union.

The pact, described by both leaders as a landmark agreement, reportedly covers defensive security, humanitarian relief, trade and investment issues.

Putin expressed gratitude on Wednesday for North Korea’s “unwavering support” of the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday suggested Putin’s visit was a desperate attempt to secure international allies amidst the protracted invasion.

“We’ve seen […] Russia try, in desperation, to develop and to strengthen relations with countries that can provide it with what it needs to continue the war of aggression that it started against Ukraine,” said Blinken.

He added that the U.S. will “do everything we can to cut off the support that countries, like Iran and North Korea, are providing.”

Kim has been actively seeking to strengthen ties with Russia and China in order to enhance his country’s international standing, despite its troubled human rights record.

North Korea has been supplying munitions and other military resources to the Russian military since the start of the war against Ukraine. Ukrainian forces have recovered weapons bearing markings indicating North Korean manufacturing.

Putin’s last visit to North Korea was in 2000, when the hereditary dictatorship was under the control of Kim’s father, Kim Jong Il.

North Korea, officially known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, was founded in 1948 with direct influence from the Soviet Union.

The Kim dynasty — sometimes referred to as the Mount Paektu bloodline — is the hereditary dictatorship of the country founded by communist revolutionary Kim Il Sung. 

North Korea operates under the state ideology of Juche, a quasi-communist worldview founded on a cult of personality and fervent nationalism.