North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will fly to Russia later this week for his first ever summit with Russian strongman Vladimir Putin, whose economic aid has helped North Korea withstand punishing U.S. economic sanctions.

The upcoming visit will be Kim’s first trip to Russia.

Kim will visit Russia "in the second half of April,” said state-run news outlet KCNA Tuesday. A Kremlin spokesman on Monday said the leaders were aiming to meet at the end of April.

KCNA also said the North Korean leader "will soon pay a visit to the Russian Federation at the invitation" of Putin. Informed sources say Kim and Putin will meet at Russia’s Asian city of Vladivostok, which is only 680 kilometers by air from Pyongyang.

Putin visited North Korea in July 2000 and was warmly welcomed by Kim’s father, the late Kim Jong-il. The elder Kim described Putin as a leader "with whom to do business."

Analysts said Russia needs more access to North Korea's mineral resources, including rare metals. On the other hand, North Korea wants access to Russian electricity supplies, infrastructure investments and the modernization of its military.

Tens of thousands of North Korean migrant laborers work at Russia’s vast but underpopulated far east region, of which Vladivistok is the center.

Pyongyang is especially eager to modernize the country's Soviet-built industrial plants and railways. These factories and other key infrastructure are reminders of the close ties between the now defunct USSR and North Korea, the Soviet Union’s main Asian ally when relations with China soured in the 1960s.

Putin Russian President Vladimir Putin attends his New Year address to Russians. Photo: ALEXEY NIKOLSKY/AFP/Getty Images

The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 led to a cooling off of the once close ties between the Cold War allies, but Putin’s ascent to power is again rekindling them. Putin has since sought to reinvigorate ties with North Korea.

“Definitely North Korea is playing a game,” said Shin Beom-chul, senior fellow at the Asian Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul to ABC. “Visiting Russia is leverage for Kim Jong Un when it comes to his negotiations with President Trump. Russia’s role is just giving political blessing to Kim Jong Un.”

The meeting between Kim and Putin comes at a time when the denuclearization talks with North Korea remain stalled.