Kim Jong-un will visit Russia to celebrate the Soviet defeat of Nazi Germany

The leader of North Korea will take his first foreign trip since coming into power, taking part in the 70th anniversary parade in Russia.

The victory day parade marks the 70th anniversary of the capitulation of Nazi Germany in 1945, which formally marked the official end of hostilities in the Second World War in Europe. The annual parade marks the Allied victory in the Great Patriotic War on the same day as the signing of the German act of capitulation to the Allies in Berlin.

Kim Jong-un is among 26 world leaders who have accepted an invitation to travel to Moscow to take part in celebrations, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday.

Leaders from China, Cuba, India, Mongolia, South Africa and Vietnam have already confirmed their attendance.

North Korea has still not officially confirmed its leaders presence at the upcoming celebration, but it would be Kim Jong-un’s first foreign excursion since taking power three years ago.

The anniversary celebrations will take place on May 9, where the programme highlight will be a military parade on the Red Square overseen by Vladimir Putin. The annual event is going to be bigger than ever before, with 15,000 troops, cadets and Cossacks, according to Russia’s defence minister.

Russia’s current role in the Ukraine conflict has divided opinion among several western leaders who have snubbed invitations to the military parade. But foreign minister Sergey Lavrov has insisted that European leaders from Slovakia, Norway, Greece and several Balkan nations are still expected to join Moscow in May.

German chancellor Angela Merkel is among those staying away from the parade. Although in the interests of maintaining a relationship with Russia, she has agreed to meet with Putin in Moscow the following day, for a separate ceremony.

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