Putin made the remarks on Thursday after holding one-on-one talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in their first summit held in Russia’s Pacific city of Vladivostok.
Any US guarantees, the Russian leader said, might need to be supported by other nations involved in previous six-way talks on the so-called denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
The six-party negotiations involved South Korea, North Korea, the US, China, Russia, and Japan to settle the North’s nuclear issue but they collapsed in 2009 without achieving any results.
“[The North Koreans] only need guarantees about their security. That’s it. All of us together need to think about this,” Putin said at a presser after his first ever face-to-face talks with the North’s leader.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jung-un meet in their first summit, in Russia’s Far Eastern port city of Vladivostok, pledging closer ties between their countries.
The Russian president insisted that the guarantees would have to be legally binding and vouch for North Korea’s sovereignty.
Putin’s comments came nearly two months after US President Donald Trump and Kim reached an impasse at their face-to-face denuclearization talks in the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi.
Washington demanded full disarmament and Pyongyang asked for economic incentives through partial lifting of harsh sanctions.
The second summit in fact did collapse when the American president abruptly walked away from the talks without reaching a deal or even issuing a final statement.
Trump claimed that he quit the talks because Kim demanded that all economic sanctions be lifted as a prerequisite to denuclearization.
Pyongyang, however, quickly responded that it had never asked for the removal of all sanctions, but only their partial removal.
Washington and Pyongyang have been at loggerheads since the collapse of the Hanoi summit.
Trump and Kim met at a historic summit for the first time in June last year in Singapore, where they agreed to work toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Subsequent diplomacy between the two sides, however, made little progress, mainly because Washington refused to lift its crippling sanctions.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Putin described Kim as “quite open” and as “thoughtful” and “interesting.”
The North Korean leader, for his part, said the situation on the Korean Peninsula “is an issue that the world is very interested in.”
The last time Putin had a summit with the North’s leader was in 2002, when he met with Kim Jong Il, Kim Jong-un’s father and predecessor, in the Russian Far East.
Kim Jong Il also met in 2011 with Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s then president and now its prime minister, at a military base, near Siberia’s eastern mountains, some 5,550 kilometers east of capital Moscow.
The US has refused to offer any sanctions relief in return for several unilateral steps already taken by North Korea.
Pyongyang, on the other hand, has suspended its missile and nuclear testing, demolished at least one nuclear test site, and agreed to allow international inspectors into a missile engine test facility.
Nevertheless, the US has insisted that sanctions on the North must remain in place until it completely and irreversibly dismantles its nuclear program.
Russian officially cautiously welcome a pledge by the Ukrainian president-elect to to “reboot” peace talks with pro-Russia forces in the country’s conflict-stricken east that also involve Moscow and the West.
Additionally on Thursday, Putin said Moscow was ready to restore full relations with Kiev after political novice Volodymyr Zelensky, a former comedian, won Ukraine’s presidential election.
“We want and we are ready to fully restore relations with Ukraine. But we cannot do this unilaterally,” he said.
Putin said the weekend election during which Zelensky beat incumbent Petro Poroshenko with 73 percent of the vote showed the “complete failure” of the latter’s policies.
“Ukraine’s new leadership cannot fail to understand this,” Putin added.
The crisis between Russia and Ukraine commenced after a series of protests overthrew Ukraine’s democratically-elected government in 2014 and replaced it with a pro-Western government.
The incident provoked an armed conflict in the predominantly Russian-speaking regions of eastern Ukraine and also led to Crimea’s reunion with Russia following a local referendum later in 2014.
Kiev and its Western allies have since accused Moscow of channeling troops and armaments across the border into eastern Ukraine, a charge the Kremlin strongly denies.