Putin praises North Korea’s ‘firm support’ for war ahead of Pyongyang visit – as it happened

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praised North Korea for “firmly supporting” Moscow’s war in Ukraine, as he travelled to Pyongyang to seek continued military support from the isolated country. In his first visit to North Korea since 2000, Putin will meet Kim Jong-un for one-on-one talks on Tuesday evening (local time). Putin vowed to deepen trade and security ties with North Korea and to support it against the US. The US state department said it was “quite certain” Putin would be seeking arms to support his war in Ukraine. In a letter published by North Korean state media ahead of his planned visit, the Russian president wrote: “We will develop alternative mechanisms of trade and mutual settlements that are not controlled by the west, and jointly resist illegitimate unilateral restrictions. And at the same time – we will build an architecture of equal and indivisible security in Eurasia.” Tomorrow will be the key day of his state visit, when there will be an official ceremony and Putin will reportedly receive a guard of honour.

  • South Korean defence minister Shin Wonsik said in an interview with Bloomberg News that Seoul had identified at least 10,000 shipping containers suspected to be containing artillery ammunition and other weapons sent from North Korea to Russia. Those containers could contain as much as 4.8m shells, Shin said.

  • China urged Nato to “stop shifting blame” over the war in Ukraine after the western military alliance’s chief accused Beijing of worsening the conflict through support of Russia.

  • Hungary and Slovakia gave their support to the candidacy of Mark Rutte as the next secretary-general of Nato, an important step for the outgoing Dutch prime minister towards securing the top job. Nato takes decisions by consensus, so any candidate needs the support of all 32 allies. Only Romania, whose President Klaus Iohannis is also vying for the job, is still opposed to Rutte’s candidacy.

  • Ukraine claimed responsibility for an overnight drone attack on an oil facility in Russia’s Rostov region that started a massive blaze in the latest long-range strike by Kyiv’s forces on a border region.

  • Thank you for following today’s latest news. This blog is closing now but you can read all our Ukraine coverage here.

    09.34 for more details).

    Rutte would be the fourth Dutchman to hold the post if he is chosen as the alliance’s 13th secretary general. He must now only secure the backing of Romania, whose President Klaus Iohannis also wants the role.

    Hungary’s backing follows a meeting Orbán had with Stoltenberg last week, in which the two sides agreed that Hungary would not block Nato decisions on providing support for Ukraine but has agreed that it would not be involved.

    Slovakia also gave its support to Rutte today. Orbán had earlier opposed Rutte’s candidacy because he had expressed “problematic” opinions that included the idea that Hungary should leave the EU.

    military exercises in the Baltic Sea region, which has become strategically sensitive following Russia’s war on Ukraine.

    Sweden, which had joined the drills in the past, took part in the Baltops exercises for the first time in June as a full Nato member after joining the transatlantic military alliance earlier this year. The weeks of training include sea mine sweeps, submarine detection, landings and medical response to mass casualty situations.

    The exercises by navy, air force and ground troops are being held on the Baltic Sea, as well as in Sweden and its strategic island of Gotland, and in Lithuania, Poland and Germany. They will run to Thursday and include about 50 navy ships and 45 aircraft and helicopters.

    discussed Vladimir Putin’s trip to North Korea in an emergency phone call last week.

    According to BBC News, Campbell told Kim that Washington backs Seoul’s stance that Putin’s visit should not result in a “further deepening of military cooperation between Pyongyang and Moscow in a way that undermines regional peace and stability in violation of UN security council resolutions”.

    The White House said on Monday that Washington is apprehensive over closer ties between Russia and North Korea.

    “We’re not concerned about the trip [by Putin],” national security council spokesperson, John Kirby, told reporters Monday. “What we are concerned about is the deepening relationship between these two countries.”

    Kirby said the worry was not just that “North Korean ballistic missiles are still being used to hit Ukrainian targets, but because there could be some reciprocity here that could affect security on the Korean peninsula”.

    Russia has turned increasingly to blackmail and financial incentives to hire Germans to spy for it after the blow dealt to its intelligence services by Europe’s expulsion of some 600 Russian diplomats, Germany’s domestic security service said.

    The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) said Russian intelligence services were spending big to recruit agents in Germany despite Western attempts to limit their operations since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

    “Russia is working hard to compensate for the German government’s reduction in the number of Russian agents in Germany,” BfV chief Thomas Haldenwang told a news conference on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

    Two German citizens who were charged last August with high treason for spying for Russia had each been paid an estimated 400,000 euros ($428,560) for their services, the BfV said.

    “The agent fees show that Russia’s services continue to have enormous financial resources with which to pursue their intelligence goals,” it added in the report.

    Particularly at risk of being targeted by Russian security services were Germans who lived in Russia or regularly travelled there, including German diplomats, who could easily be made vulnerable to blackmail attempts.

    “As soon as they have compromising information about their targets, these services are not shy about employing aggressive recruitment techniques,” they added.

    Earlier this month, NATO also reaffirmed its concerns about Russian espionage and called for tougher action in response to what it said was a campaign of hostile activities including acts of sabotage and cyber attacks. Germany is one of 32 NATO states.

    was arrested in January and accused of gathering information about Estonia’s internal, defence and security policy, as well as people and infrastructure related to it, ERR said.

    He was also accused of conveying information about Estonia’s political situation, relationships with allies, integration and social cohesion, Reuters reported.

    A veteran professor who had previously taught Russian-EU studies at the university, Morozov was well known for his research into Russian political identity and foreign policy.

    imminent visit to Pyongyang proves, the secluded state’s behaviour is being increasingly influenced by its security and economic ties with Russia.

    The Guardian’s Tokyo correspondent, Justin McCurry, explores the deepening relationship between Russia and North Korea here:

    Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy has expressed gratitude to those who have signed the communique from the Ukraine peace summit held in Switzerland over the weekend, as he hopes for more countries to add their names to it.

    Key regional powers including Brazil, India, South Africa and Saudi Arabia failed to sign up to the joint communique issued at the end of the Ukraine peace conference (you can read more here).

    The final text was signed by more than 80 countries and international organisations, including the three main EU institutions and 27 EU member states. It said the UN charter, the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all states “can and will serve as a basis in achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine”.

    in a further sign of the country’s deepening ties with the west.

    Lecornu posted on X that the contract was signed during a meeting with his Armenian counterpart Suren Papikyan. He did not say how many systems Armenia would acquire.

    Armenia is formally allied to Russia, but has in recent years pivoted diplomatically and militarily towards western countries, accusing Moscow of failing to protect it from longtime rival Azerbaijan. Russia has rejected the criticism, and warned Armenia against flirting with the west.

    The Pacific Fleet of the Russian navy will hold exercises between 18 and 28 June in the waters of the Pacific Ocean, the Sea of Japan and the Sea of Okhotsk, Tass state news agency reported on Tuesday.

    The drills reportedly involve about 40 ships, boats and support vessels, about 20 naval aircraft and helicopters, including long-range anti-submarine aircraft Tu-142M3, Il-38 and Il-38N, as well as anti-submarine and search and rescue helicopters.

    The news comes a day after Russian navy vessels left Havana, having arrived at the Cuban capital’s harbour last week in a move widely seen as a Russian show of force.

    Source: theguardian.com

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