North Korea says its leader Kim Jong Un is heading for Russia aboard a special train. Kim is expected to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin, apparently with the aim of reaching an agreement on military assistance.
Tuesday's edition of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, said on its front page that Kim left Pyongyang on Sunday afternoon.
The report carried photos showing Kim wearing a black outfit while walking on a red-carpeted platform at a station with military honor guards in attendance. Kim is also shown boarding the green-colored train.
The photos suggest that Kim is being accompanied by Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui and Ri Pyong Chol, who has been leading the country's nuclear and missile programs.
O Su Yong, a Workers' Party official in charge of the economy, also appears to be part of the delegation.
The latest report followed an announcement by North Korea on Monday that Kim would soon visit Russia to hold talks with Putin. It would mark Kim's second summit with Putin since April 2019.
The details of Kim's itinerary have not been released. But the train is expected to cross North Korea's northeastern border on Tuesday, and head for Vladivostok in the Russian Far East.
Observers say that during the visit, North Korea may offer ammunition to Russia amid the prolonged invasion of Ukraine and seek assistance with advanced military technologies in return.
Pyongyang needs such technologies to develop military reconnaissance satellites and nuclear-powered submarines. Both are listed in North Korea's five-year defense program as items the country aims to acquire.