Russia and North Korea in Talks to Supply Weapons for Ukraine War, US Says


The White House said on Wednesday that it has new information that Russia and North Korea are “actively advancing” their negotiations over a potential arms deal that would provide significant ammunition for different types of weapons systems, including artillery, for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The news of the potential deal comes despite North Korea’s public claims to the contrary. The Biden administration said it remains concerned that the two pariah states are in the middle of arms negotiations and that, following Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu’s trip to North Korea last month, a second delegation of Russian officials have visited Pyongyang for further discussions on a potential deal.

Russia and North Korea in Talks to Supply Weapons for Ukraine War, US Says
Russia and North Korea in Talks to Supply Weapons for Ukraine War, US Says

National Security Council strategic communications coordinator John Kirby said that Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have exchanged letters “pledging to increase their bilateral cooperation”.

“We remain concerned that the DPRK continues to consider providing military support to Russia’s military forces in Ukraine and we have new information which we are able to share today that arms negotiations between Russia and the DPRK are actively advancing,” Kirby said.

“Following these negotiations, high level discussion may continue in coming months.”

Russia seeks munitions and raw materials from North Korea

Kirby said that under the potential deals, Russia would receive significant quantities and multiple types of munitions from North Korea, which the Russian military plans to use in Ukraine. These potential deals could also include the provision of raw materials that would assist Russia’s defense industrial base.

“We urge the DPRK to cease its arms negotiations with Russia by by the public commitments that Pyongyang has made to not provide or sell arms production,” Kirby said, pledging that the US would take direct action to sanction any entities involved in a potential deal and urged Pyongyang to cease the negotiations.

Kirby also said that the US is closely monitoring North Korea’s nuclear and missile activities, which pose a serious threat to regional and global security. He said that the US remains committed to pursuing diplomatic engagement with North Korea and seeks its complete denuclearization.

North Korea denies arms deals with Russia

North Korea has denied any involvement in arms deals with Russia, saying that it is not interested in interfering in other countries’ affairs. In a statement issued by the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Tuesday, a spokesperson for the North Korean Foreign Ministry said that the allegations are “groundless” and “fabricated”.

The spokesperson said that North Korea is “not a country that sells weapons or provides military support to anyone” and that it has “never had any intention or plan to do so”. The spokesperson also accused the US of trying to create a “hostile atmosphere” around North Korea and undermine its relations with other countries.

The statement came after KCNA reported on Monday that Kim Jong Un had sent a congratulatory message to Putin on the occasion of Russia’s National Flag Day, expressing his “firm belief” that the “friendly and cooperative relations” between the two countries would “further develop”.

Russia and North Korea celebrate war anniversary

The potential arms deal negotiations between Russia and North Korea come amid their commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the end of the Korean War, which they claim as a victory over the US-led forces. Last month, Shoigu visited Pyongyang and met with Kim Jong Un, who gave him a tour of a weapons exhibition where nuclear-capable ballistic missiles and drones were on display.

The two sides also held a military parade in Pyongyang on July 27, where they showcased their latest weaponry and expressed their solidarity against their common enemies. Shoigu praised North Korea for its “heroic struggle” against “imperialist aggression” and thanked it for supporting Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Russia has been waging a war against Ukraine since 2014, when it annexed Crimea and backed separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine. The conflict has killed more than 14,000 people and displaced millions more. The US and its allies have imposed sanctions on Russia for its aggression and provided military assistance to Ukraine.


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