• Kim Jong Un praised Putin's leadership in carrying out a 'just cause' in Ukraine
  • Kim also congratulated Russia on its National Day holiday marking its independence from the USSR
  • North Korea previously expressed support to Russia's aim of eliminating enemies that pose a threat to its country

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Sunday expressed his “full support” to Russian President Vladimir Putin who is facing international condemnation for launching an invasion of Ukraine in February.

The Korean leader expressed his support to the Russian president, “friendly” Moscow government and the Russian people on Russia’s National Day. The holiday marks Russia’s independence from the United Socialist Soviet Republic (USSR) in 1991.

In Kim’s message, he also praised Putin for his “leadership” and “great success in carrying out the just cause of protecting justice and his country’s dignity and security,” which is an apparent reference to the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine.

“[The Russian people have] achieved great successes in accomplishing the just cause of defending the dignity and security of their country, while braving all sorts of challenges and hardships,” Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) quoted Kim as saying, as reported by the Business Standard. “The Korean people extend full support and encouragement to them.”

Kim’s gesture on Sunday is the latest sign of a deepening relationship between North Korea and Russia. In May, Kim sent a letter to Putin congratulating Russia on the 77th anniversary of Victory Day. The North Korean leader also said he sends “solidarity” to Russia’s aim of eliminating enemies that pose political and military threats to its country, adding that the “friendly relations” between both countries would continue to develop, according to a copy of the letter obtained by NK News.

In March, North Korea was only one of the five countries that voted against a U.N. resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and calling for the Kremlin to immediately withdraw its military forces from Kyiv. Other countries that voted against the resolution included Russia, Eritrea, Syria and Belarus.

North Korea’s foreign ministry has also blamed the United States for being the “root cause” of the war in Ukraine, citing its “disregard” of Russia’s security demands as the reason for the invasion.

Kim’s message to Putin comes as the war in Ukraine extends to its fourth month. Since the start of the war, Russians have been accused of killing an estimated 4,569 Ukrainian civilians and injuring 5,691 people.

The Kremlin has postponed Putin's annual direct line phone-in with the Russian people to a later date without explanation
The Kremlin has postponed Putin's annual direct line phone-in with the Russian people to a later date without explanation SPUTNIK via AFP / Mikhail Metzel