Ukraine live briefing: North Korea’s Kim praises war, will tour Russian aviation factories

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The U.S. said it is monitoring developments from the Putin-Kim summit and concerned over Kim Jong Un’s support for Russia. (Video: The Washington Post)

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un continues his visit to Russia’s Far East, where he is expected to tour an aviation factory and inspect Russia’s Pacific naval fleet this week. The visit is a display of closeness between Kim and Russian President Vladimir Putin, who met yesterday in Russia’s far eastern Amur region and have indicated an interest in military co-operation.

The two leaders probably discussed arms sales from North Korea to Russia and food aid for North Korea, though there was no announcement of a deal at the summit. According to U.S. intelligence assessments, Russia is looking to obtain weaponry from North Korea to bolster its supplies, which have shrunk amid its war in Ukraine.

Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.

Putin accepted Kim’s invitation to visit North Korea “in the future,” according to the North’s official Korean Central News Agency. The Kremlin said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will visit Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, next month.

Kim reaffirmed his support for Moscow, saying, “We have always supported and stand by all decisions of President Putin and the Russian government,” according to the Kremlin. Kim apparently praised Russia’s “sacred struggle to defend its state sovereignty and protect its security,” repeating rhetoric used by Putin to defend his invasion of Ukraine.

The White House is monitoring developments from the Putin-Kim summit, according to White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby. “We’ve got to see what actually shakes out of this meeting and the degree to which any kind of an arms deal was consummated,” he said. “If they decide to move forward with some sort of arms deal, we’ll obviously take the measure of that and we’ll deal with it appropriately.”

South Korea condemned the meeting between Kim and Putin. “Despite repeated warnings from the international community, North Korea and Russia discussed military cooperation issues, including satellite development, during their summit,” Lim Soo-suk, a spokesman for South Korea’s Foreign Ministry, said in a news briefing Thursday, according to the Associated Press. The statement came as South Korea’s National Security Council urged North Korea and Russia not to trade weapons, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.

Ukraine’s plans “to diversify its supply” of nuclear fuel away from Russian sources hit a milestone earlier this week, Britain’s Defense Ministry said, when “Energoatom, Ukraine’s nuclear power plant operator, announced it had a successfully refuelled a reactor at its Rivne Nuclear Power Plant,” in northwest Ukraine near the border with Poland and Belarus, “using Western-produced nuclear fuel assemblies.” The ministry said Thursday that Ukraine’s nuclear sector was dependent on Russian fuel and Soviet-era designs, but since the invasion, Kyiv has “accelerated” plans for a “long-term decoupling from Russia, whose influence over Ukraine’s energy supply is severely diminished.”

A six-year-old child was killed and four people were wounded in a strike in the Kherson region that occurred shortly after midnight Thursday in the village of Novodmytrivka, the Office of Ukraine’s Prosecutor General said. The prosecutor blamed Russia for the strike, and said the wounded included the child’s teenage brother and “three neighbors who tried to help” but “came under enemy fire.”

Russia said it thwarted drone attacks over Bryansk Oblast, a region southwest of Moscow near the Ukrainian border. The Russian Defense Ministry said air defenses shot down drones shortly after midnight Thursday. The local governor said there were no reports of casualties or damage.

Russian officials accused Ukraine’s Air Force of shelling a village in the Kursk region overnight, killing one person and injuring another. Kursk regional governor Roman Starovoyt said a strike in the village of Tyotkino hit a distillery, killing a forklift driver. More strikes against the region thereafter resulted in one injury, he said. Kursk lies near the border between Ukraine and Russia, and has frequently been the target of attacks since the start of the war.

Russia said it stopped an attempted drone assault on Crimea and an attempted attack on a patrol boat from Russia’s Black Sea Fleet on Thursday. The Russian Defense Ministry said that air defenses shot down the drones over Crimea, and the patrol boat’s defenses “destroyed” five unmanned boats. Ukraine did not immediately confirm the assaults. Russia illegally annexed Crimea in 2014 and the peninsula has come under several attacks in recent months. On Wednesday, Ukraine’s military intelligence service said it damaged a Russian submarine and a landing vessel during a strike on Sevastopol. The Washington Post could not independently verify the reports.

Analysis from our correspondents

Kim Jong Un’s visit to Russia hints at grim battlefield math for Putin: The visit by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un highlights the predicament that Russian President Vladimir Putin has found himself in: fighting a war with a dwindling chest of arms.

Russia’s armed forces are churning through artillery in Ukraine at an unsustainable rate, The Post’s Adam Taylor writes, forcing Putin to try to find ways to bolster the military’s stockpile of ammunition. That may have contributed to Kim’s visit to Russia this week, where the two leaders are expected to discuss supplying artillery, though it’s unclear exactly how much North Korea could supply to Russia.

Min Joo Kim contributed to this report.



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