Vladimir Putin accepts Kim Jong Un's invitation to visit N.Korea, Kremlin says

A Kremlin spokesperson says Russian President Vladimir Putin has accepted North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's invitation to visit his country.

Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday that Putin "gratefully accepted" the invitation extended by the North Korean leader during their summit in Russia's Far East on the previous day. Peskov said the two countries will further coordinate the visit via diplomatic channels.

Moscow had earlier said Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov would travel to North Korea next month to meet his counterpart. The diplomats are expected to discuss mutual visits by their leaders. But it remains unclear whether Putin will visit North Korea.

Meanwhile, Peskov said on Thursday that Putin is scheduled to meet his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko in the southern Russian city of Sochi on Friday. The two neighboring countries are allies.

The Belarusian presidential office also announced the meeting, saying the leaders "will discuss the international agenda and regional issues."

Putin and Lukashenko are expected to talk about matters related to Ukraine, which Russia has been invading. They are also likely to discuss ways to cope with economic sanctions imposed by Western nations.

Analysts say Putin is seeking to bolster ties with countries that are at odds with Western nations.