North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has returned from a six-day visit to Russia, bringing back with him a set of advanced drones, a bulletproof vest, and protective clothing, Russian state media TASS reported.
The supply of advanced drones and military equipment to North Korea raises concerns about a possible violation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) sanctions, prohibiting the transfer of military technology to the country.
North Korea has been subject to UNSC sanctions, which Russia has supported, since 2006 for its prohibited nuclear weapons and missile programs.
Oleg Kozhemyako, the governor of Russia’s Primorsky Region, reportedly presented North Korean leader Kim Jong Un with five kamikaze drones and a Geran-25 reconnaissance drone before he headed back home. These drones were part of a larger set of gifts that also included a bulletproof vest and special Russian-made clothing not detectable by thermal cameras.
The Geran-25’s vertical takeoff feature allows for deployment in various terrains, making it a versatile asset for reconnaissance. The kamikaze drones, on the other hand, are essentially “fire-and-forget” weapons, raising concerns about their potential use in offensive operations.
The advanced drones in North Korea’s possession have sparked international concerns, especially in countries within North Korea’s reach.
“Military cooperation between North Korea and Russia is illegal and unjust as it contravenes U.N. Security Council resolutions and various other international sanctions,” South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said in written responses to questions from The Associated Press. “The international community will unite more tightly in response to such a move.”
At the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the North Korean leader arrived in Russia aboard his armored train on September 12, 2023. Since then, he has visited weapon and technology sites, including the county’s largest fighter jet factory, underscoring deepening ties between the nations locked in separate confrontations with the West.
The visit has alarmed South Korea, Japan, Ukraine, the United States, as well as several European nations, a number of which have issued warnings regarding the potential violation of international sanctions by North Korea and Russia.