North Korean leader receives drones as he wraps up Russia’s trip

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has received drones and body armor as he wrapped up a trip to Russia that has rattled the West.

Russia’s official TASS news agency said Sunday that the “leader of the DPRK received five kamikaze drones and a ‘Geran-25’ reconnaissance drone with vertical takeoff,” using the official name of North Korea.

The report added that the governor of the Primorye region also “offered Kim Jong-un a set of bulletproof protection” and “special clothing not detectable by thermal cameras”.

“This is a body armor with protection zones for the chest, shoulders, throat and groin, and it is much lighter than its known analogs,” TASS added.

On Saturday, Kim met the Russian defense minister in Vladivostok, where he inspected state-of-the-art weapons including a hypersonic missile system.

Kim ended his visit to the Russian Far East on Sunday by boarding his armored train in the city of Artyom, located north of the port of Vladivostok, and embarking on the long trip home. The video showed Kim being seen off with the national anthems of both North Korea and Russia.

North Korean news agency KCNA has described the atmosphere during Kim’s visit as “fervent and warm” and said a “new era of friendship, solidarity and cooperation” was opening between North Korea and Russia.

The two leaders called each other “comrades” at lunch and President Vladimir Putin reminded Kim that it was the Soviet Union that backed North Korea – and was first to recognize it 75 years ago when it was established.

Video released by the Kremlin Wednesday showed the two leaders shaking hands before touring the space center and adjoining rocket complex, where launch vehicles are assembled and tested.

North Korea has made space technology a priority. Kim in the past had stressed the role of military satellites as a means to protect national safety and territorial stability.

Kim’s extended tour of Russia’s far eastern region, which began on Tuesday, focused extensively on bilateral coordination.

Kremlin earlier said Kim’s visit would cover “bilateral relations, the situation in the region and in the global arena.”

But Washington claimed it had intelligence data that the talks between Putin and Kim on a weapons deal were “actively advancing”.

The North Korean leader’s previous trip abroad was to Russia to meet Putin after the collapse of bilateral denuclearization talks with then-US President Donald Trump.

Since 2006, North Korea has been under UN sanctions over its nuclear weapons and missile programs.

Russia recently joined China in opposing new sanctions on North Korea, blocking a United States-led push and publicly splitting the UN Security Council for the first time since it started punishing Pyongyang in 2006.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said last week the geopolitical climate had changed completely since the United Nations imposed sanctions on North Korea, and he accused the West of breaking pledges on humanitarian support for Pyongyang.

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