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Why Putin Met Kim Jong-Un

More than ever, Putin needs something big. A dramatic gesture for global public consumption. That’s what North Korea is all about. While the Kremlin may have had Prigozhin’s plane shot down, it was too late to undo the damage caused to Putin’s reputation when Wagner forces marched on Moscow, even if they ultimately failed. They exposed the Russian president’s vulnerability. They exposed the prevailing myth that Putin is unbreakable. Even the apparent Putin allies who won recent regional elections are considerable threats to the Russian president at this point. 

And in Ukraine, Putin continues to lose face, most recently this week with Ukrainian claims that it struck Russian ports and facilities home to its Black Sea naval fleet. Ukraine now has long-range missiles and assault drones and is wreaking havoc on Russian plans, all of which is weakening Putin in the face of powerful pro-war nationalists at home.

Precisely as Ukraine is bombarding the Black Sea with missiles, enter Kim Jong-un, the world’s best headlining act.

On Wednesday, King Jong-Un and Putin met in Russia where Putin made a big deal of showing him about his Far East space facilities before discussing cooperation and prompting Kim to declare his full support for Moscow’s “sacred fight” in Ukraine. (The following day, Kyiv said it attacked two Russian patrol ships in the Black Sea and destroyed an air defense system). 

Also timed…

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