Putin and Kim Jong Un pledge closer relations as Russia courts non-Western allies in the wake of its Ukraine invasion

Russian President Vladimir Putin with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in April 2019.ALEXANDER ZEMLIANICHENKO/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

  • Russia and North Korea exchanged messages of mutual support on Monday, per state media outlets.

  • Kim Jong-Un emphasized their ability to thwart “hostile forces’ military threat and provocation.”

  • The pledges come as both leaders are increasingly isolated on the world stage.

President Vladimir Putin and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un pledged closer ties in an exchange of notes on Monday, state-controlled media outlets reported.

It came as Russia continued a monthslong push to shore up alliances with non-Western countries in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine.

Putin wished Kim “good health and success” and expressed the will to continue their bilateral relations which would “would entirely conform with the interests of the peoples of the two countries,” as North Korean outlet Rodong Sinmun reported, per a translation by South Korea-based media monitor KCNA Watch.

Kim, for his part, responded with a message emphasizing that the friendship had put “have put on a new high stage in the common front for frustrating the hostile forces’ military threat and provocation, and high-handed and arbitrary practices,” per per Rodong Sinmun.

Russia and North Korea, as well as sharing a small border, have in common the status of being among the most heavily-sanctioned economies in the world.

By one count, Russia overtook North Korea (and Iran, and Syria) in March to become the most sanctioned nation of all, subject to 5,532 sanctions compared to 2,077 on North Korea.

However, in practice North Korea is still the more reclusive of the two nations as Russia maintains and is indeed expanding links with countries like India, China, and Brazil.

North Korea has called western sanctions on Russia “futile” while praising Putin’s “just cause of defending the dignity and security of their country,” per various state media reports.

The message came on the occasion of Korea Liberation Day, which is celebrated in both North and South Korea as the day Japanese forces retreated from the Korean peninsula, with aid from the Soviet Army.

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