Experts says: Putin is afraid of this

Written by Henrik Rothen

Sep.14 - 2023 6:11 PM CET

Photo: Wikipedia Commons
Photo: Wikipedia Commons
Putin may not look like a frightened man, but according to experts, there is actually something he is afraid of.

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Amidst a backdrop of Western sanctions, Russian President Vladimir Putin met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Vladivostok. The meeting has raised eyebrows, as experts believe Putin is treading carefully to avoid further international isolation.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) suggests that Putin is keen to portray this meeting as "neutral," wary that an arms deal with North Korea could lead to a new round of sanctions from the West. According to Business Insider this comes at a time when Russia is already grappling with the economic impact of existing sanctions, imposed following its invasion of Ukraine.

The EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, has stated that these sanctions have had a "hard tangible effect" on Russia's economy and technological capabilities.

Despite this, Russia has found ways to circumvent these restrictions, according to researchers from the Atlantic Council. They point out that Russia has been able to continue its weapons production by importing some US-made technology through elaborate evasion schemes involving neighboring states and fake companies.

US officials, speaking to The New York Times, indicated that Putin's meeting with Kim was likely aimed at discussing a potential weapons deal, given that Russia's military is running low on supplies.

However, Putin seems to be proceeding with caution. After the meeting, Russian media reported that Putin emphasized Russia's ongoing compliance with restrictions on military-technical cooperation with North Korea, but noted that there are still "opportunities" within the current rules.

The meeting between Putin and Kim comes as both the EU and the US have expanded bans on the export of dual-use and high-tech goods to third countries that could potentially resell them to Russia.

This adds another layer of complexity to Russia's ongoing efforts to evade sanctions, and perhaps explains Putin's cautious approach to any potential arms deal with North Korea.

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