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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has arrived in North Korea for meetings with top officials as Western countries scrutinize the growing military relationship between North Korea and Russia.

Lavrov, on his first trip to North Korea since 2018, is believed to be laying the groundwork for a potential visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to Pyongyang. This comes closely after Kim Jong Un’s recent meeting with Putin in Moscow.

According to Russia’s state news agency, discussions will encompass briefing North Korea on Putin’s China visit for the third Belt and Road Initiative forum and preparations for Putin’s prospective North Korean visit. However, Lavrov’s trip follows US allegations of Pyongyang’s armament assistance to Moscow, specifically pointing to North Korea’s recent delivery of over 1,000 containers of military equipment to Russia.

These claims have been refuted by both North Korea and Russia, with Russian Ambassador Oleg Burmistrov emphasizing that Russia “strictly adheres to its international obligations towards Pyongyang through the UN Security Council,” while opposing new sanctions.

At their meeting in September, Putin and Kim shared mutual praise and explored potential military collaborations despite global sanctions against North Korea for its weapons program. Putin highlighted that Russia respects these constraints, but areas for mutual cooperation exist within permissible limits.


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