Russia has awarded North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong Un with commemorative World War II medal. The award was presented for Kim Jong Un's contribution to preserving the memory of Soviet soldiers killed in North Korea. Russian President Vladimir Putin conferred the award on North Korean leader. The news was confirmed by Russin's Embassy in North Korean capital Pyongyang.
The ceremony was held at Mansudae Assembly Hall where Russia's ambassador in North Korea, Alexander Matsegora, presented the award to North Korea's Foreign Minister Ri Son Gwon today, April 5. Though the award was conferred on Kim Jong Un, he did not attend the event. However, amidst the rumours of Kim Jong Un battling post-surgery ailments, and also rumours of his death, the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made his first public appearance after 20 days of absence.
Kim Jong Un visited Russia for the first time in 2019
The medal has come in a time where Matsegora handed over the medal known as "75 years of victory in the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945" to the North Korean Foreign Minister. This was against Nazi rule in Germany. Though both Russia and North Korea are in good terms, Kim Jong Un visited Russia for the first time in April 2019. He met Russian President Putin to discuss issues of sanction and nuclear stalemate with the United States.
Russia shared the image of handing over of the award on official Facebook page and wrote: "Kim was awarded for his great personal contribution to the commemoration of the dead and buried Soviet citizens on the territory of the DPRK and showing concern about the safety of the Soviet soldiers' graves and memorial sites."
1,375 Soviet soldiers have been buried in North Korea
Accordingly, so far 1,375 Soviet soldiers have been buried in North Korea. However, the photos showed that both North Korean and Russian authorities were seen wearing mask despite North Korea's claim that the country has zero COVID-19 cases. Putin had also invited Kim Jong Un to Russia for the 70th anniversary of Great Patriotic War 1941-1945. But North Korean leader did not attend the event citing domestic issues.
In fact, Russia had extended an invitation to Kim Jong Un for 75th-anniversary celebration scheduled to be held at Moscow on May 9 this year. But the celebration was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.