With the dictator of North Korea, Kim Jong Un set to pay a special visit to Moscow this month, former British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has mocked President Putin for ‘begging’ the impoverished nation for outdated weapons.
A US official said the two human rights abusers will discuss Pyongyang providing Moscow with military equipment for its ongoing brutal invasion of Ukraine.
But former defence secretary Mr Wallace, who resigned from his position last Thursday, taunted the seemingly desperate move, saying: “And this is how it ends Mr Putin… the once mighty Russia scrabbling around looking for friends and begging North Korea for weapons from the 1960s.”
Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu travelled to North Korea to meet Kim Jong Un in July. The New York Times reported this week that the meeting between Jong Un and Putin could take place in the port city of Vladivostok, on the east coast of Russia.
Mr Putin is said to want his ally in North Korea to supply artillery shells and anti-tank missiles.
Meanwhile, the North Korean dictator is said to be asking for advanced technology for satellites and nuclear-powered submarines, as well as food aid.
National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said the US expected “leader-level diplomatic engagement” on arms to take place between the two rogue nations.
“Last month Sergei Shoigu, the Russian defence minister, travelled to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to try to convince Pyongyang to sell artillery ammunition to Russia,” she said.
“We have information that Kim Jong Un expects these discussions to continue, to include leader-level diplomatic engagement in Russia.
A Kremlin spokesman had “nothing to say” on the reports, while there was no immediate comment from North Korea.
Former British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace officially resigned this week, with his replacement, Grant Shapps, pledging to continue backing Ukraine.
The appointment becomes Mr Shapps’ fifth cabinet job in under a year, with his previous roles including energy secretary, transport secretary and home secretary.
Ben Wallace is also standing down as an MP at the next election, after four years as defence secretary.
In a statement, Mr Shapps said he was “honoured” to take on the role, and paid tribute to the “enormous contribution Mr Wallace has made to UK defence and global security over the last four years”.