Kim Jong Un
Kim Jong Un has not travelled outside North Korea since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Image/KCNA VIA KNS via AFP / STR

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has arrived in Russia for a meeting with President Vladimir Putin, even as the United States has threatened Pyongyang with new sanctions if Kim sells weapons to Russia.

The North Korean leader is believed to have crossed into Russia early Tuesday morning local time. He will be holding a meeting with Putin in the city of Vladivostok, according to local media reports.

Meanwhile, the United States has warned Russia and North Korea of the consequences if the latter provides weapons to Russia for its war in Ukraine.

"I will remind both countries that any transfer of arms from North Korea to Russia would be in violation of multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions", US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller told reporters on Monday.

"We, of course, have aggressively enforced our sanctions against entities that fund Russia's war effort, and we will continue to enforce those sanctions and will not hesitate to impose new sanctions if appropriate."

Miller also underlined that Putin reaching out for help from an "international pariah" is a testimony to the fact that Russia's invasion of Ukraine has been "a strategic failure".

Both North Korea and Russia are already under several US sanctions. Tensions between Pyongyang and Washington are at their peak right now, and the meeting between Russia and North Korea is only expected to exacerbate the situation.

Kim's visit to Russia comes two months after Russia's Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu visited North Korea. Shoigu is the first Russian defence chief to have visited North Korea since 1991.

It is being reported that Putin needs caches of ammunition, while Kim needs food provisions to fight North Korea's food shortage.

Neither country has given any details about the meeting or its agenda. However, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has said that the two countries will touch upon "sensitive areas".

The economic slowdown, border restrictions, and COVID-19 have created a shortage of food in North Korea, leading to deaths due to starvation in the country.

Several reports have claimed that a number of North Koreans have been dying of hunger. It is being reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has failed to address the food shortage.

The reports about North Korea facing food insecurity have started pouring in since 2021. Kim himself had made a reference to a "tense" situation in the crisis. That same year, the state-run KCTV channel also reported that the country was facing a "food crisis."

Meanwhile, Russia has also suffered significant losses in the war, which does not seem to be coming to an end anytime soon. Putin desperately needs allies and a fresh supply of weapons to sustain his war against Ukraine.

He also recently met China's Vice Premier Zhang Guoqing on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum and said that relations between Russia and China reached an "unprecedented historical level".