Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed interest to “expand the comprehensive and constructive bilateral relations” with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Pyongyang’s state media reported on Monday.

According to KCNA news agency said, Putin sent a letter to Kim on the 77th anniversary of the end of Japan’s occupation of the Korean peninsula, where he stressed that closer ties would be in the interest of both countries.

It would help solidify the security and stability of the Korean peninsula and the Northeastern Asian region, Putin said in the letter, reports Reuters.

The North Korean leader also voiced his response through his letter saying that the Russian-North Korean friendship had been forged in World War II with victory over Japan, which had occupied the Korean peninsula.

Kim said that the “strategic and tactical cooperation, support and solidarity” between the two countries have since reached a new level in their common efforts to frustrate threats and provocations from hostile military forces.

Though KCNA did not describe who the hostile forces were, the term is generally used in North Korea to refer to the United States and its allies.

Kim expressed hope that the cooperation between Moscow and Pyongyang would grow based on the 2019 agreement signed when he met with Vladimir Putin.

North Korea is considered a close ally of Russia. It had recently recognized two Russian-backed breakaway “people’s republics” in eastern Ukraine as independent states.

Moreover, reports are swirling around that North Korea has reportedly offered 100,000 “volunteer” troops to help bolster Russia’s chances of invading Ukraine.

“There are reports that 100,000 North Korean volunteers are prepared to come and take part in the conflict,” Russian defense analyst Igor Korotchenko told Russian Channel One, reports New York Post.

“If North Korea expresses a desire to meet its international duty to fight against Ukrainian fascism, we should let them,” Korotchenko was quoted as saying.

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