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Russia's Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will meet this week

Russian President Vladimir Putin last met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in 2019 in Vladivostok. The Kremlin confirmed Monday that Kim and Putin will meet again this week, also in Vladivostok.
Alexey Nikolsky
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SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images
Russian President Vladimir Putin last met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in 2019 in Vladivostok. The Kremlin confirmed Monday that Kim and Putin will meet again this week, also in Vladivostok.

Updated September 11, 2023 at 2:59 PM ET

MOSCOW — The Kremlin has confirmed a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will take place in Russia's Far East "in the coming days."

The Kremlin's press service said Monday that Kim's state visit comes by invitation of Putin.

U.S. officials last week were the first to say the meeting would take place. Officials said it would be held against the backdrop of an annual economic forum in the Russian Pacific port city of Vladivostok, eight time zones east of Moscow.

Putin arrived in Vladivostok early Monday, ahead of a scheduled address to the forum later this week.

Meanwhile, South Korean media reported that the reclusive Kim had departed for the Russian border aboard his private armored train. An official told Yonhap News Agency that a train believed to be carrying Kim "is moving to Vladivostok."

The possible gathering of the two leaders comes amid U.S. claims that Putin is eager to secure additional North Korean arms for Russia's grinding war in Ukraine — perhaps in exchange for food aid or technological support.

"A year and a half later, not only has he failed to achieve his goals on the battlefield, but you see him traveling across his own country hat in hand to beg Kim Jong Un for military assistance," State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller told reporters on Monday.

Kim's visit will mark his first trip outside North Korea since the start of the pandemic. Kim last met Putin in 2019, also in Vladivostok.

Anthony Kuhn contributed reporting from Seoul; Michele Kelemen reported from Washington, D.C.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Anthony Kuhn
Anthony Kuhn is NPR's correspondent based in Seoul, South Korea, reporting on the Korean Peninsula, Japan, and the great diversity of Asia's countries and cultures. Before moving to Seoul in 2018, he traveled to the region to cover major stories including the North Korean nuclear crisis and the Fukushima earthquake and nuclear disaster.
Michele Kelemen
Michele Kelemen has been with NPR for two decades, starting as NPR's Moscow bureau chief and now covering the State Department and Washington's diplomatic corps. Her reports can be heard on all NPR News programs, including Morning Edition and All Things Considered.