North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, centre, watches a military parade to mark the 90th anniversary of North Korea s army at the Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea, on April 25, 2022. AP
North Korean state media said Kim in Monday's message praised Russia's victory in the "great war of justice to destroy fascism,'' an apparent reference to World War II and expressed hope that the countries would further develop their "strategic and traditional relations of friendship.''
The report by the Korean Central News Agency didn't include any specific mention of Russia's war on Ukraine. But it said Kim confirmed North Korea's "firm solidarity'' with Russia over its campaign to "root out the political and military threat and blackmail by the hostile forces and safeguard the country's dignity.''
North Korea has repeatedly blamed the United States over the crisis in Ukraine, claiming that the "hegemonic policy'' of the U.S.-led West is threatening global peace and stability.
Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which has left the U.N. Security Council divided and effectively paralyzed, has also created a favourable environment for Kim to push forward his weapons development as he tries to cement the North's status as nuclear power and negotiate the removal of crippling U.S.-led sanctions from a position of strength. North Korea has so far conducted 15 rounds of missile tests in 2022 alone.