Putin greeted by red carpet lined with roses as he touches down in North Korea

ITV News' Asia Correspondent Debi Edward explains what this could mean for the relationship between the two countries.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has landed in North Korea's Pyongyang Airport for the first time in 24 years, stepping out onto a red carpet lined with roses.

Putin told state media he was grateful for the country's support of his military actions in Ukraine, hours before he was greeted by Kim Jong Un.

The two leaders found themselves briefly caught in a politeness contest, with both insisting the other get into a waiting car first.

In the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, the streets were decorated with portraits of him and Russian flags.

A banner on a building said: “We warmly welcome the President of the Russian Federation.”

Putin also told state media that Russia and North Korea will jointly oppose sanctions against the countries, which he described as “illegal".

Russian President Vladimir Putin greets North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un. Credit: AP

North Korea is heavily sanctioned by the UN Security Council economic sanctions over its nuclear weapons and missile programs.

Russia is also grappling with sanctions by the United States and its Western partners over its aggression in Ukraine.

Putin said the two countries will also expand cooperation in tourism, culture and education.

Putin flew in from Yakutsk, a city in eastern Russia. Credit: AP

US and South Korean officials say military, economic and other exchanges between North Korea and Russia have sharply increased since Kim met Putin in September in the Russian Far East.

US and South Korean officials have accused the North of providing Russia with artillery, missiles and other military equipment for use in Ukraine, possibly in return for key military technologies and aid.

Both Pyongyang and Moscow deny accusations about North Korean weapons transfers, which would violate multiple UN Security Council sanctions that Russia previously endorsed.

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