MOSCOW-North Korean leader Kim Jong Un left Russia on Sunday after a rare six-day visit that appeared to solidify his country’s ties with President Vladimir Putin -- fanning Western fears that Pyongyang could provide Moscow with weapons for its assault on Ukraine. Kim’s tour of Russia’s far eastern region, which began Tuesday, has focused intensely on military cooperation, including a symbolic exchange of rifles with Putin and an inspection of state-of-the-art Russian weapons. Kim’s first official visit abroad since the coronavirus pandemic has sparked concerns that Moscow and Pyongyang will defy Western sanctions to secure an arms deal that could help the Kremlin continue its assault against Ukraine.
Before departing Vladivostok, the Far East Russian city just over the border with North Korea, Kim was presented with five explosive drones, a reconnaissance drone and a bulletproof vest as gifts from the governor of the Primorye region, which borders China and North Korea. He also visited the Far Eastern State University and appeared particularly pleased as he watched a walrus show at a local oceanarium. Summing up the North Korean leader’s visit, Russian Natural Resources Minister Alexander Kozlov, who accompanied him on his last day, said “a lot” had been discussed. “Kim Jong Un was very interested in and paid attention to minute details,” Kozlov said.