Kim Jong-un inspects nuclear-capable warplanes during tour of Russia's far east

The North Korean leader was shown fighter aircraft, including those in use in Ukraine

Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu, centre, takes North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, right, on a tour of a military site in far eastern Russia on Saturday. AFP
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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has inspected bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons and an advanced warship in far eastern Russia on his tour of the country.

Mr Kim arrived in the city of Artyom by train on Saturday and travelled to a site close to the port city of Vladivostok to view weapons. He was greeted by Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu and other senior military officials, who offered him a viewing of warplanes and hypersonic missiles.

All the Russian warplanes shown to Mr Kim on Saturday were among the types that have seen active use in the war in Ukraine, including the Tu-160, Tu-95 and Tu-22 bombers that have regularly launched cruise missiles.

Mr Shoigu also showed his guest one of Russia’s latest missiles, the hypersonic Kinzhal, carried by the MiG-31 fighter jet, that was first put into action in the war in Ukraine, according to Russia’s Defence Ministry.

Mr Shoigu, who had met Mr Kim during a visit to North Korea in July, later led his guest to Vladivostok, where they inspected the Admiral Shaposhnikov frigate of Russia’s Pacific fleet.

Russian Navy commander Admiral Nikolai Yevmenov briefed Mr Kim on the ship’s capabilities and weapons, which include long-range Kalibr cruise missiles that Russian warships have regularly fired at targets in Ukraine.

Mr Kim was seen viewing the Kinzhal missile and asking questions about the warplanes’ capabilities.

The strengthening alliance between Moscow and Pyongyang has caused concern among the US and its western allies.

The Biden administration has accused North Korea of providing weapons to Russia.

It is unclear if weapons were sent, and the two states have denied those claims while pledging to strengthen defence co-operation.

Russian President Vladimar Putin “gratefully accepted” his guest’s invitation to visit North Korea, the Kremlin said this week.

Mr Putin is looking to new sources for weaponry to replenish stockpiles used in 18 months of war.

On Wednesday he hosted Mr Kim for four hours of talks.

Mr Kim’s visits to military and technology sites in Russia may offer a hint at what he wants in exchange for suppling weapons to restock the country’s arsenal.

He may be seeking Russian technologies to advance North Korea's nuclear, missile and other military programmes.

Meanwhile, Moscow has branded the US conviction of a Kremlin-linked businessman as “politically motivated”.

Vladislav Klyushin was convicted of participating in a $93 million insider-trading scheme, the state news agency RIA reported on Saturday.

He was sentenced on September 7 to nine years in prison after being found guilty in February of trading shares using hacked secret earnings information about several companies.

Hackers from 2018 to 2020 viewed and downloaded yet-to-be-announced earnings reports for hundreds of companies including Tesla and Microsoft, whose shares the businessman and others then traded before the news was public, according to prosecutors.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un says Russia will win 'great victory'

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un says Russia will win 'great victory'

Mr Klyushin is the owner of a Moscow-based information technology company called M-13 that worked for the Russian government.

Russia's Foreign Ministry said he was “another victim of the fanatical Russophobia that now reigns in the power structures overseas”, according to RIA.

“We will continue to demand that US authorities put a stop to legal arbitrariness against Russian citizens,” the ministry said, according to RIA.

Updated: September 16, 2023, 2:08 PM