Russia-Ukraine war news: North Korea’s Kim and Putin to discuss potential arms deal


Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are seen in 2019 before talks in Vladivostok, Russia. (Yuri Kadobnov/AFP/Getty Images)

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un plans to visit Russian President Vladimir Putin this month to discuss possibly providing munitions to Moscow, senior administration officials told The Washington Post, as Russia’s military attempts to bolster weapons supplies amid Ukraine’s counteroffensive.

Putin did not rejoin the Black Sea Grain Initiative on Monday, despite meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to discuss solutions for ensuring that desperately needed grain exports reach countries struggling with food security. Putin instead reiterated that his country would rejoin the grain deal when restrictions on Russian exports are lifted.

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

Putin and Kim will probably meet in Vladivostok, a port city in eastern Russia not far from North Korea, senior administration officials said. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the issue’s sensitivity. The White House said last week that it had intelligence showing Putin and Kim had swapped letters.

The White House expects Putin and Kim to continue discussions about weapons. Adrienne Watson, a National Security Council spokeswoman, said in a statement on Monday: “We have information that Kim Jong Un expects these discussions to continue, to include leader-level diplomatic engagement in Russia.”

Russia is discussing the possibility of holding a joint naval exercise with North Korea, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told reporters Monday. South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported that during a visit to North Korea, Shoigu proposed a trilateral exercise that would include China. The Post could not independently verify that report.

Erdogan struck a tone of optimism on reviving the Black Sea Grain Initiative, stating that Turkey had worked with the United Nations to prepare a new package of suggestions meant to ease Russia’s concerns. “I think it’s possible to get results with this new process,” he said. “As Turkey, we believe we will hopefully reach a solution that will meet expectations in a short time.”

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said the grain deal should not be restored by conceding to Russian demands, Ukrainian state news agency Ukrinform reported. He referred to Russia’s insistence that its terms are met as “blackmail.”

Putin pledged to send up to 1 million tons of grain to Turkey for delivery to the world’s poorest countries, after emerging from his meeting with Erdogan on Monday. He also denied claims that Russia had worsened a food crisis by pulling out of the Black Sea Grain Initiative in July. “There is no physical shortage of food,” he said.

Russia said its air defenses intercepted a Ukrainian drone near Moscow, in the administrative Istrinsky district, about 50 miles northwest of Russia’s capital. The Russian Defense Ministry also said it intercepted a drone early Tuesday over the Kaluga region, southwest of Moscow.

Romania’s Defense Ministry dismissed claims that Russian drones entered the country during an attack on Ukrainian ports on the Danube River. It is possible that Romanian territory was accidentally hit in the overnight strikes, but the country’s foreign minister said at a news conference that they did not pose “any direct military threats” against Romania. The denial came shortly after Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko wrote on Facebook that Russian drones “fell and detonated” on Romanian territory. Romania, a NATO member, condemned the attack.

The trial of a Swedish national charged with spying for Russia’s military intelligence agency started in Stockholm on Monday, the Associated Press reported. Russia-born Sergey Skvortsov, 60, was arrested in November and is accused of collecting sensitive information against Sweden and the United States for Russia for nearly a decade, the Associated Press said. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Cuba identified a human trafficking scheme that coerced Cuban citizens into fighting for Russia and against Ukraine, its Foreign Ministry said Monday. The human trafficking network was operating in Cuba and Russia, and authorities were working to “neutralize and dismantle” it, the ministry added.

Who is Rustem Umerov, Zelensky’s pick for Ukraine defense minister? A year and a half into the war in Ukraine, Zelensky has named his new defense minister: Rustem Umerov, a Crimean Tatar who rose through the private sector and has played a key role in high-stakes negotiations.

Ukraine’s defense minister oversees billions in weapons and other military aid sent by allies. Umerov has a reputation as a skilled negotiator and anti-corruption campaigner. But he is set to take over an institution mired by corruption allegations and a slow-moving counteroffensive in Ukraine’s southeast, Miriam Berger and Serhiy Morgunov write.

Lyric Li, Jennifer Hassan, Dan Rosenzweig-Ziff, Natalia Abbakumova and Ellen Nakashima contributed to this report.


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