Vladimir Putin awards war medal to Kim Jong Un marking victory over Nazi Germany in recognition of the dictator ‘preserving the memory of Soviet soldiers’
- Putin awarded medal marking 75th anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany
- Russia’s ambassador in North Korea, Alexander Matsegora, presented the award to foreign minister Ri Son-gwon on Tuesday in Pyongyang
- Kim, who was rumoured to have died at the end of last month, did not attend
- Photos emerged of Kim smoking a cigarette at a fertiliser plant on Friday
Russia’s ambassador in North Korea, Alexander Matsegora, presented the award to foreign minister Ri Son-gwon on Tuesday at the Mansudae Palace of Congress in Pyongyang. Kim did not attend in person.
Kim’s commendation comes after speculation that he had died following weeks of conspicuous absence from events, most notably the sacrosanct celebrations of the founding father Kim Il Sung on April 15.
But on Saturday, North Korean media published photographs of Kim smiling and smoking cigarettes at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the inauguration of a fertiliser plant the day before.
Russia’s ambassador in North Korea, Alexander Matsegora (left), presented the award to foreign minister Ri Son-gwon on Tuesday at the Mansudae Palace of Congress in Pyongyang
Kim was filmed as he smoked a cigarette while opening the fertiliser factory north of Pyongyang on Friday
Kim was last seen in public on April 11, when he presided over a meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party in Pyongyang.
Kim Jong-Un’s last known movements
April 11 – The dictator presides over a meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party committee of policymakers. His most recent public appearance
April 15 – Kim is absent from celebrations for North Korea’s founding father and Kim’s grandfather, Kim Il Sung
April 21 – First reports surface claiming the dictator has received heart surgery from South Korean-based publication Daily NK
April 23 – Kim’s private train is spotted near his holiday resort in Wonsan on satellite images. It is at a station reserved for use by the Kim family, prompting rumours that he has travelled to the destination
April 23 – Chinese doctors reportedly arrive in North Korea around this time to treat the dictator. China is yet to confirm or deny the reports
May 1 – Pictures emerge of the dictator apparently at a fertiliser factory in Sunchon with his sister
On April 15, he inexplicably missed a Day of the Sun celebration honouring his grandfather Kim Il-Sung, the founder of North Korea, and his father, Kim Jong Il.
His unprecedented absence sparked a wave of speculation about his health, particularly with regards to the coronavirus pandemic.
Kim is known for his indulgent diet, penchant for vintage claret and his smoking habit, all of which would make him more susceptible to the contagion.
But on Friday, May 1, the despot assuaged any fears with his first public appearance after his absence, when he cut the ribbon at the opening of a fertiliser factory in Sunchon.
In his appearance at the fertiliser factory, Kim expressed satisfaction about the production system and said the plant made a significant contribution to the progress of the country’s chemical industry and food production, KCNA said.
Marks on Kim’s wrist seen as he sat on a golf cart at the factory suggest he could have had heart surgery, medical experts claimed.
The experts assessed video footage of the visit and claimed marks on Kim’s arms showed he has had a ‘cardiovascular procedure’, US-funded NK News reported.
What appeared to be needle marks could be seen on his wrists while he rode in a golf cart that looked a lot like the one he used in 2014, when he returned to the public eye with a cane after some time away.
Medical experts have assessed video footage of the visit and claim marks on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s arms (pictured) show he has had a ‘cardiovascular procedure’, US-funded NK News reported
Asked about the KCNA report, US President Donald Trump said: ‘I’d rather not comment on it yet. We’ll have something to say about it at the appropriate time.’
On Monday, photos showed Russian and North Korean officials wearing face masks despite the fact that North Korea has not reported a single case of coronavirus.
Last year Russia invited Mr Kim to visit Moscow on May 9 and attend the military parade marking the 75th anniversary of the victory.
Mr Putin announced the decision to postpone the parade indefinitely last month because of the pandemic.
In 2015, the North Korean leader rejected a similar invitation to the 70th anniversary, citing domestic affairs.
Kim (pictured) expressed satisfaction about the production system of the fertiliser factory, saying the plant made significant contribution for the progress of the country’s chemical industry and food production, KCNA said
Senior party and government officials celebrate the 108th anniversary of founder Kim Il-Sung’s birth in Pyongyang on April 15 – a ceremony which Kim Jong-un inexplicably missed
Published at Tue, 05 May 2020 11:18:24 +0000-Putin awards war medal to Kim marking victory over Nazi Germany