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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un expresses ‘strong support’ in Victory Day message to Putin

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, left, meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Vostochny Cosmodrome, Russia, September 13, 2023. AP-Yonhap

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, left, meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Vostochny Cosmodrome, Russia, September 13, 2023. AP-Yonhap

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un sent a congratulatory message to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the 79th anniversary of the end of World War II, expressing his “strong support and solidarity” with Moscow, reports said. official media on Thursday.

Kim extended his “warm congratulations and friendly greetings” to Putin in the message celebrating Russia’s Victory Day, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

Victory Day, which falls on Thursday, celebrates the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, which Russia calls the Great Patriotic War.

Kim touted Putin as leading efforts to defend Russia’s sovereignty against “vicious challenges and threats from hostile forces,” apparently pointing to Moscow’s war with Ukraine.

“I express my firm support and solidarity with the sacred cause of Russia, hoping that you and the courageous Russian army and people will achieve a new victory in the struggle to defeat the hegemonic policies of the imperialists,” Kim said, quoted by KCNA.

Earlier this week, the North Korean leader sent a congratulatory message to Putin on officially beginning his fifth term as Moscow’s leader. Putin began his fifth term on Tuesday, extending his 24-year term by six years after a landslide victory in March elections.

North Korea and Russia deepened military cooperation and strengthened bilateral relations following the summit between Kim and Putin in September last year.

Seoul’s Unification Ministry said Kim sent a congratulatory message to Putin on Victory Day for the third consecutive year since Russia’s war with Ukraine in 2022. Previously, the North did not made only on the occasion of Russia’s birthdays whose final digits ended in five or zero.

“North Korea seems to be trying to show its close ties with Russia and create the atmosphere (to prepare) for Putin’s trip to North Korea,” a ministry official told reporters on condition of anonymity.

The Kremlin earlier said Putin had accepted Kim’s invitation to visit North Korea during the summit held at Russia’s Vostochny spaceport. (Yonhap)