Putin invites North Korean leader to Moscow: Spokesman

MOSCOW (AFP) - President Vladimir Putin has invited North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un for celebrations next year to mark the 70th anniversary of victory in World War II, Russian news agencies said Friday, citing his spokesman.

"Yes. Such an invitation was sent," Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told TASS news agency.

Moscow is due to hold grand celebrations next year for the 70th anniversary of the capitulation of Nazi Germany to the Soviet Union.

Five years earlier in 2010, Russia held the biggest military parade since the collapse of the Soviet Union and invited a slew of leaders including China's then-president Hu Jintao and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Russia is one of North Korea's few allies, along with China. Both have opposed the United Nations' call for Pyongyang to be referred to the International Criminal Court over its human rights record.

The late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il visited Russia in August 2011 in his personal train for a rare meeting with then Russian president Dmitry Medvedev. Kim Jong-Il died in December that year and was succeeded by his son.