Kim Jong Un's train 'heading for Russia,' Ukraine makes gains in counter-offensive
DPRK leader Kim Jong Un's special train pictured in 2019. Kyodo News/ CFP.CN
DPRK leader Kim Jong Un's special train pictured in 2019. Kyodo News/ CFP.CN

DPRK leader Kim Jong Un's special train pictured in 2019. Kyodo News/ CFP.CN


• DPRK leader Kim Jong Un's train "appears" to have left for Russia, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported on Monday, citing an unidentified official. Speculation has been mounting that Kim, who has not traveled since the Covid-19 pandemic started, will meet Russia's President Vladimir Putin. READ MORE BELOW

• Ukraine's Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said troops had retaken close to two square kilometers of land near the eastern city of Bakhmut in the last week. Maliar told Ukrainian television that forces captured part of the village of Opytne south of the city of Avdiivka and had "partial success" near the village of Novomaiorske in the eastern Donetsk region. 

• President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also said a counter offensive against Russian forces had advanced on the southern front and there had also been movement near Bakhmut. "Over the past seven days we have made an advance in the Tavria (southern) sector," Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address. "There is movement in the Bakhmut sector. Yes, there is movement."

• Ukrainian forces have regained control from Russia of several offshore drilling platforms close to Crimea, Ukraine's military intelligence said on Monday.

• German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Ukraine's place is in the European Union during a surprise visit to Kyiv, on Monday morning. Ukraine can "rely on us and on our understanding of EU enlargement as a necessary geopolitical consequence of Russia's war," said Baerbock.

• Russia claimed that the United Russia party, which staunchly backs President Vladimir Putin, had won local ballots in four Ukrainian regions controlled by Russia. The elections have been dismissed by Ukraine and its allies as a sham.

• Gazprom, Russia's largest natural gas company, plans to launch two more processing lines at the Amur gas plant early next year, Vitaly Markelov, deputy head of the company told the Russian TASS news agency.

• Russia's air defense systems destroyed two Ukraine-launched drones over the Belgorod region in the early hours of Monday, the Russian defense ministry said in a statement on Telegram.

Russia will return to the Black Sea grain deal "the same day" as Moscow's conditions for export of its own grain and fertilizers to the global markets are met, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

• French President Emmanuel Macron said the G20, which was founded to solve international economic issues, was not necessarily the place to expect diplomatic progress on the conflict in Ukraine. But he said in a press conference the G20 declaration was not a diplomatic victory for Russia, which emerged isolated from the summit.

Aftermath of shelling seen in Donetsk. Alexander Ermochenko/ Reuters
Aftermath of shelling seen in Donetsk. Alexander Ermochenko/ Reuters

Aftermath of shelling seen in Donetsk. Alexander Ermochenko/ Reuters


DPRK leader's 'appears' to be heading for Putin meeting 

DPRK leader Kim Jong Un appears to have departed aboard a special train bound for Russia and a summit with President Vladimir Putin, South Korean media reported on Monday, citing unnamed senior government sources.

Russia's Interfax news agency reported earlier on Monday that Kim, who rarely travels abroad, was expected to visit Russia's far east "in the coming days."

The Kremlin said on Saturday Putin would be in the far eastern city of Vladivostok to attend the Eastern Economic Forum, which opened on Sunday, but said it had "nothing to say" about a possible visit by Kim.

DPRK has openly supported Russia in the conflict with Ukraine, and Putin pledged last week to "expand bilateral ties in all respects in a planned way by pooling efforts."

Kim's last trip abroad in 2019 was also to Vladivostok for his first summit with Putin after the collapse of DPRK's nuclear disarmament talks with former U.S. President Donald Trump.

South Korea's Chosun Ilbo newspaper said Kim left Pyongyang late on Sunday and would meet Putin as early as Tuesday.

The broadcaster YTN reported the special train would take Kim to DPRK's northeastern border with Russia and the summit was likely to be on Tuesday, though it initially reported it would be on Wednesday. Both reports cited unnamed senior South Korean government sources.

Japanese media reported security was being stepped up and refurbishment was taking place at the main train station in the Russian border city of Khasan, where Kim is expected to enter Russia.

DPRK's state media have made no mention of any plan by Kim to visit Russia.

South Korea's foreign ministry said it was monitoring developments but declined to confirm any details. Officials at South Korea's unification ministry said they had no information to provide, while officials at the National Intelligence Service could not be reached.

The U.S. has said it would be a "huge mistake" for DPRK to supply Russia with weapons to use in Ukraine and warned Pyongyang would "pay a price."

Source(s): Reuters ,AFP

Search Trends