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PoliticsNorth Korea

Putin gives Kim Jong Un Aurus luxury car

February 20, 2024

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un received the Russian-made Aurus to celebrate ties between the two leaders, after they recently met in Russia in September. The gift could violate UN sanctions on North Korea.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meets Russian President Vladimir Putin in September
Kim and Putin are growing closer as they both face a common adversary in the WestImage: Sputnik/Mikhail Metzel/Kremlin via REUTERS

Russian President Vladimir Putin has given a luxury car to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as a gift, the North Korean state-controlled news agency KCNA reported Tuesday.  

From Russia with love

KCNA said the gift serves as a "clear demonstration of the special relations between the two leaders." The outlet said the vehicle was presented by Russia to Kim's sister, Kim Yo Jong, on February 18.  

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told Russian media that the car given to Kim was a Russian-made Aurus. The Aurus Senat serves as the presidential state car of Russia which transports Putin. 

Aurus Senat cars during an exhibition in St. Petersburg
According to Aurus, the Senat Limousine is the first luxury automobile from RussiaImage: Alexander Demianchuk/picture alliance/dpa/TASS

The gift comes after Kim traveled to Russia in September to meet with Putin. During that visit, Kim was taken for a ride in Putin's official Aurus vehicle. 

The September meeting was a key high point in North Korean-Russian relations

At that time, the Russian leader suggested further space cooperation with North Korea, with Kim saying the two leaders are teaming up in a "fight against imperialism."

Putin and Kim both face isolation from the West.

Putin's decision to invade Ukraine in February 2022 has led to sanctions from the US, EU and others, whereas Kim's nuclear aspirations and missile tests have been punished by the UN.    

Concerns grow that North Korea is sending weapons to Russia

Could the gift be a violation of UN sanctions?  

South Korea said the automobile gifted to Kim could be a violation of UN sanctions on North Korea.  

"Security Council sanctions on North Korea prohibit directly or indirectly supplying, selling or moving all transportation vehicles internationally categorized as HS Code 86 through to 89 regardless of their origin to North Korea including luxury cars," South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lim Soosuk told journalists.   

Kim is believed to be an enthusiatic auto collector, with many of his vehicles covertly delivered to North Korea from abroad. 

wd/nm (Reuters, AFP, dpa)