VLADIVOSTOK, Russia (Reuters) -North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspected Russian nuclear-capable strategic bombers and hypersonic ‘Kinzhal’ missiles on Saturday, accompanied by President Vladimir Putin’s defence minister.
A smiling Kim was greeted in Russia’s Knevichi, about 50 km (30) miles from the Pacific city of Vladivostok, by Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu who saluted Kim who then inspected a guard of honour.
Shoigu then showed Kim Russia’s strategic bombers – the Tu-160, Tu-95 and Tu-22M3 – which are capable of carrying nuclear weapons and form the backbone of Russia’s nuclear air attack force.
“It can fly from Moscow to Japan and then back again,” Shoigu told Kim of one of the aircraft.
Kim was shown asking about how the missiles were fired from the aircraft. A Russian official told him that the strategic bombers were one of the key parts of Russia’s nuclear forces.
Kim on Friday inspected a Russian fighter jet factory that is under Western sanctions, part of a visit Washington and its allies fear could strengthen Russia’s military in Ukraine and bolster Pyongyang’s missile program.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Kim discussed military matters, the war in Ukraine and deepening cooperation when they met on Wednesday.
Putin told reporters Russia was “not going to violate anything”, but would keep developing relations with North Korea. His spokesman said no agreements had been signed during Kim’s visit on military issues or any other topic.
(Reporting by Reuters; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)
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