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North Korea's Kim Departs Russia, Presented with Drones as Gift

North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un Concludes Russia Visit, Receives Drones as Gifts

On September 17, 2023, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un wrapped up his six-day visit to Russia, departing via his armored train. The trip focused primarily on military matters, marked Kim’s first official overseas visit since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, raising concerns in the West about potential arms deals between Moscow and Pyongyang.

Russian news agencies captured Kim’s departure, sharing footage of a “departure ceremony” at the Artyom-Primorsky-1 station, as his train embarked on a journey of approximately 250 kilometers (155 miles) toward the border. In the video, Kim is seen bidding farewell to a Russian delegation led by Natural Resources Minister Alexander Kozlov. As the train departs, the Russian march “Farewell of Slavianka” plays in the background. Additionally, Kim was presented with drones as parting gifts during his visit.

(Note: The date in the original text was incorrect; it stated “September 16, 2023,” but the events were reported to have occurred on September 17, 2023.)

Earlier Sunday, TASS said Kim had been given five explosive drones, a reconnaissance drone, and a bulletproof vest as gifts from a regional governor.

TASS said the “leader of the DPRK received five kamikaze drones and a ‘Geran-25’ reconnaissance drone with vertical takeoff,” using the official name of North Korea.

TASS said the governor of the Primorye region, which borders China and North Korea, also “offered Kim Jong Un a set of bulletproof protection” and “special clothing not detectable by thermal cameras.”

On Saturday, Kim engaged with Russia’s defense minister in Vladivostok, where he conducted inspections of cutting-edge weaponry, including a hypersonic missile system.

Throughout his extensive tour of Russia’s far eastern region, which commenced on Tuesday, Kim’s primary focus remained on military matters. This emphasis was evident through the presence of his officer-heavy entourage, symbolic exchanges of rifles with President Vladimir Putin, and a visit to a fighter jet factory in Komsomolsk-on-Amur.

There is speculation that Moscow may be interested in procuring North Korean ammunition for its ongoing conflict in Ukraine, while Pyongyang seeks Russia’s assistance in advancing its internationally criticized missile program.

However, the Kremlin has explicitly stated that no agreements have been made or will be signed in this regard.

On Sunday, Kim also held discussions with North Korean students pursuing their education in Vladivostok.

The North Korean news agency, KCNA, has characterized the atmosphere surrounding Kim’s visit as “enthusiastic and cordial,” suggesting that a “new era of friendship, solidarity, and cooperation” is emerging between North Korea and Russia.

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Written by Olusesan Oba

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