NORTH Korea rolled out the red carpet for the Russian defence minister as Moscow cosies up to Kim Jong-un in a bid to get weapons.
Vladimir Putin's crony Sergei Shoigu wore his army general's uniform as he was greeted by hundreds of KPA soldiers at the start of a three-day visit to the hermit nation.
The Russian national anthem rang out in Pyongyang as Kim Jong-un's loyal troopers stood by signs welcoming Moscow's war commander, 68.
Kim then flexed North Korea's military muscle by staging a parade showcasing his latest arsenal.
Shoigu's visit comes amid the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Korean War armistice, marked as Victory Day, on July 27, 1953.
But it is feared the key purpose of his visit is to boost the supply of artillery shells for his forces in Putin's barbaric invasion of Ukraine.
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The Moscow Times reports North Korea is selling artillery shells to Russia and building up its nuclear capability.
Pyongyang appears to be deepening its ties with Beijing and Moscow, finding common ground in their rivalries with Washington and the West.
Washington has accused North Korea of supplying weapons for the war in Ukraine.
Park Won-gon, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul, said the fact that Russia's defence minister flew to Pyongyang while his country was at war is "very significant”.
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The visit is the first known of a foreign delegation in North Korea since the Covid pandemic.
It comes amid reports Putin is preparing for a “long war”.
The tyrant has tried this week to massively swell the numbers of young men he can conscript.
Putin, 70, has widened the age cohort for the compulsory draft from 18 to 30, and cracked down on exemptions and the ability to evade military service.
He is set to permit regional armed military companies controlled by loyal governors, aimed at stamping out potential revolts against his regime.
A close ally Col-Gen Andrey Kartapolov, a Russian MP and loyalist parliamentary defence committee chairman, told the legislature ominously: “This law was written for a big war, for general mobilisation.
“And now this already smells like a big war.”
He slammed MPs for looking to exempt certain groups, or make it easier to evade the draft – as the children of many politicians do.
Kartapolov added: "We all continue to look for whom we should remove from [mobilisation], who we should protect."
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But he warned: “Later there will be no one to protect."
He taunted MPs “who vote for the preservation of a comfortable life for draft dodgers” by enabling them to flee abroad.
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