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Putin, Kim gifted each other ‘rifles’

Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un gifted each other rifles, the Kremlin said Thursday, after the two held a high-profile…

Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un gifted each other rifles, the Kremlin said Thursday, after the two held a high-profile summit in Russia’s Far East.

Putin has sought to strengthen alliances with other hardline leaders ostracised by the West, and met with Kim amid speculation they would agree on an arms deal.

Putin “gave (Kim) a rifle from our production of the highest quality. In turn, he also received a North Korean-made rifle,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

Putin also gave Kim “a glove from a space suit that has been in space several times”, Peskov said, while Putin “gratefully” accepted an invitation to visit North Korea.

He said Kim’s visit to Russia would last “a few more days”. The North Korean leader arrived in Russia on Tuesday.

The friendly ties between the two leaders come as Russia faces isolation from the West and some of its traditional partners over its full-scale offensive in Ukraine.

US officials and experts have said Russia is interested in buying North Korean ammunition to use in Ukraine, a move the White House warned would have consequences.

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