Vladimir Putin gifts luxury limousine to North Korea’s Kim Jong Un in potential UN sanctions violation

Russian President Vladimir Putin gifted a luxurious Russian-made limousine to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for his personal use, the two countries announced on Tuesday. This new gesture by Putin shows the deepening ties between the two countries, but is expected to spark a backlash from the United Nations.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un (AP)

Kremlin said in a statement that Putin gifted the Russian Aurus limousine to Kim Jon Un as the North Korean leader liked the armoured car during his last visit to Russia. He was also seen sitting inside the car, beside the Russian president, at the Vostochny Cosmodrome.

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“When the head of the DPRK (North Korea) was at the Vostochny cosmodrome, he looked at this car, Putin showed it to him personally, and like many people, Kim liked this car,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said when asked about the gift.

However, observers have said that the shipment of the luxury vehicle to North Korea violates sanctions imposed by the UN. According to a past UN resolution, the shipment of luxury items to North Korea has been banned. Such was imposed to pressure the country into abandoning its vast arsenal of nuclear weapons.

The gift was received by Kim Yo Jong, Kim Jong Un’s sister and a high-ranking official in North Korea, who thanked the Russian president. She said that the car was a reflection of the deep relationship between the two nations.

According to the carmaker’s website, the car is Russia’s first full-size luxury sedan. It is also Putin’s presidential car.

UN sanctions violated by Russia?

As the reports of Putin’s gift to Kim makes waves in the West, both Russia and North Korea asserted that they have not violated any sanctions through this gesture.

Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote on Telegram, “I think champions of international legal purity should be asked what damage is caused by illegal sanctions when, because of the West’s sanctions war, people the world over cannot secure food, medicines and vaccines.”

The two countries continue to have a tense relationship with the United States for separate reasons – North Korea for its nuclear weapons and Russia for its war against US ally Ukraine. The two countries, on the sideline of US and UN sanctions, have built a partnership amid expansion of their weapon arsenal.

(With inputs from agencies)

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