Russian delegation visits North Korea to enhance cooperation

North Korea (illustrative photo)
North Korea (illustrative photo)

A Russian delegation, led by Grigoriy Rapota, a member of the International Affairs Committee and chairman of the Russia-North Korea parliamentary friendship group, arrived in Pyongyang on May 20 to further strengthen ties between the two countries, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported.

The visit, which the Russian embassy said would last until May 24, follows a meeting between Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last September.

The Russian Embassy in North Korea announced the arrival of the delegation on its Telegram channel, noting that it would stay in Pyongyang until Friday, May 24.

Read also: DPRK-made missiles used by Russia in Ukraine contain nearly 300 foreign components

Inter-parliamentary cooperation and plans for future contacts are among the issues to be discussed.

Last week, after meeting with a North Korean delegation, Oleh Kozhemyako, the governor of Russia's northeastern Primorsky Krai, announced the resumption of passenger trains between Vladivostok and North Korea after a long hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read also: Two Russian Iskander-M missiles kill 5 civilians, including pregnant woman, injure 16 others in Kharkiv Oblast

Kim Jong Un's visit to Russia on September 12 was accompanied by reports of a possible deal between Pyongyang and Moscow involving the transfer of weapons and ammunition for Russia's aggression against Ukraine.

DPRK — Russia 'lend-lease'

In early January, U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby stated that Russia struck Ukraine with North Korean ballistic missiles on Dec. 30, Jan. 2, and Jan. 6.

Read also: North Korea launches missiles into Sea of Japan following joint US-South Korea drills

South Korea's representative to the UN, Hwang Joon-kook, said North Korea is using Ukraine as a “testing ground” for ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

Ukraine's Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin announced on Jan. 11 that his office received the first evidence of North Korean missiles being used in the conflict.

North Korea has called U.S. accusations of transferring ballistic missiles to Russia for use against Ukraine “groundless.”

On Feb. 22, the SBU reported documented evidence of Russian air attacks on Ukraine's civilian infrastructure using DPRK weapons. According to the investigation, the Russians fired more than 20 North Korean missiles at Ukraine.

The Kharkiv Prosecutor's Office stated on March 14 that Russia had fired about 50 North Korean Hwasong-11 missiles at six regions of Ukraine. Since last year, North Korea has sent about 7,000 containers of ammunition and other military equipment to Russia, according to South Korea.

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