North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un has wished Russian President Vladimir Putin on his birthday. In the greeting, he also congratulated Putin for ‘crushing the challenges and threats of the United States’. Reuters news.

Russian President Vladimir Putin celebrated his 70th birthday on Friday.

Analysts say Putin’s birthday greetings to Kim are an expression of the deepening ties between the two countries. Its value in North Korea has increased as Russia’s isolation has increased due to the war in Ukraine. If North Korea’s relations with Russia were not so warm during the days of the Soviet Union, the country is currently taking advantage of that. Because under the sanctions of the Western alliance, Russia needs friendship more now.

Communist North Korea was formed early in the Cold War with the support of the Soviet Union. North Korea later fought South Korea and its allies the United States and the United Nations in the Korean War of 1950–53, with extensive support from China and the Soviet Union.

North Korea was heavily dependent on Soviet aid for decades. This resulted in severe famine in the north when the Soviet Union collapsed in the 1990s.

Pyongyang’s leaders have tended to use Beijing and Moscow to balance each other. Initially, Kim Jong Un had relatively cool relations with both countries. Both countries even supported tough US sanctions on North Korea’s nuclear tests.

But after the last nuclear test in 2017, Kim began taking steps to repair relations. In 2019, Kim and Putin met for the first time at a summit in the Russian city of Vladivostok.

Since then, Russia has joined China in opposing sanctions against North Korea.

North Korea also reciprocated public support for Moscow when Russia launched an offensive in Ukraine. North Korea is even the only country to recognize the independence of the separatist Ukrainian territories.

The United States says Russia contacted North Korea about buying millions of rounds of ammunition and other weapons to replenish stockpiles depleted by the war. However, both countries have denied this claim of the US.

(October 7)