North Korea’s Kim Jong Un Receives Car as Gift from Putin

Sputnik/Artem Geodakyan/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un attend a meeting at the Vostochny Сosmodrome in the far eastern Amur region, Russia, September 13, 2023.

SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has received a car from Russia’s President Vladimir Putin as a gift “for his personal use,” official media reported on Tuesday, in what could be a violation of U.N. ban that Moscow had joined to adopt against Pyongyang.

The two countries have forged closer ties since Kim and Putin met in September and pledged to promote exchanges in all areas as their international isolation deepened over Russia’s war in Ukraine and the North’s nuclear weapons development.

The Russian-made car was delivered to Kim’s top aides by the Russian side on Feb. 18, official KCNA news agency said.

Kim’s sister “courteously conveyed Kim Jong Un’s thanks to Putin to the Russian side, saying that the gift serves as a clear demonstration of the special personal relations between the top leaders,” KCNA said.

The report did not describe the car or how it was shipped from Russia. Kim is believed to be an avid automobile enthusiast and has a large collection of luxury foreign vehicles believed to be smuggled in.

In September, while visiting Russia’s space launch station in the far east, Kim inspected Putin’s presidential Aurus Senat limousine and was invited by the Russian leader to climb into the back seat.

Kim himself drove to the site in a Maybach limousine brought onboard a special train he traveled in from Pyongyang.

That vehicle and others he had been seen in including several Mercedes limousines, a Rolls-Royce Phantom and a Lexus sports utility vehicle fall under luxury goods that U.N. Security Council resolutions ban from export to North Korea.

Exchanges between the two countries have grown increasingly active and North Korea is believed to be supplying artillery, rockets and ballistic missiles to Russia for use in the war against Ukraine.

The Kremlin has not denied nor confirmed its use of North Korean-made weapons. North Korea denies the accusation of arms shipment to Russia, which would also be violations of U.N. sanctions.

On Tuesday, KCNA separately reported that a delegation of North Korea ruling party officials returned from Russia and three delegations, representing information technology, fisheries and sports, departed for Russia.