Russian President Vladimir Putin is on his first visit to North Korea in 24 years, with relations between the two countries growing closer since Moscow launched its so-called “special military operation” in Ukraine in February 2022. 

Media reports say Vladimir Putin arrived in North Korea yesterday night at the start of his first visit to North Korea in 24 years. 

Putin's delegation includes his new defense minister, Andrei Belousov, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak.

RIA Novosti reports that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un personally greeted Vladimir Putin at the plane ramp.  

According to RIA Novosti, the two leaders talked animatedly with each other for several minutes before reaching their motorcade.

CNN cited North Korean state media KCNA as reporting that they then rode together to the Kumsusan State Guest House where Putin will be staying and the two leaders “exchanged their pent-up innermost thoughts and opened their minds to more surely develop relations in conformity with the common desire and will of the peoples of the two countries.”

After arriving at the guesthouse, they held a “friendly chat,” KCNA reportedly added.

Meanwhile, Meduza reports that hours before his arrival, the Russian president published an op-ed in the official newspaper of North Korea’s ruling party.  In it, he emphasized the two nations’ long history of friendly relations and portrayed the countries as two persecuted but resilient victims of an aggressive United States.

Al Jazeera reported today that Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have begun high level talks in Pyongyang.

According to Al Jazeera, the North Korean state-run news agency KCNA said the meeting between the two leaders was a historic event that showed the “invincibility and durability” of the friendship and unity between North Korea and Russia.  The two countries’ relations had “emerged as a strong strategic fortress for preserving international justice, peace and security and an engine for accelerating the building of a new multi-polar world”, it added.

The Kremlin described the trip as a “friendly state visit” with Russian media reporting Mr. Putin and Mr. Kim may sign a partnership agreement, including on security issues, and will give joint statements to the media.

President Putin's last trip to North Korea came in 2000, at the start of his presidential career, when he met Kim's father, Kim Jong Il, who was still supreme leader.

Recall, the International Criminal Court in March last year issued an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin, drastically reducing the list of countries he can visit without fearing arrest.