North Korea denies sending arms to Russia
Pyongyang has responded to US accusations of supporting Moscow with artillery munitions for the Ukraine conflict
A senior North Korean defense official said on Tuesday that Pyongyang is not supplying Russia with any weapons and does not intend to do so in future. The statement came after Washington last week accused North Korea of covertly shipping artillery shells to Russia to support its campaign against Ukraine.
The US “is persistently spreading a groundless rumor of arms dealings" between Moscow and Pyongyang in order “to make it a fait accompli at any cost,” the vice director for military foreign affairs at the North Korean Defense Ministry claimed, as quoted by Pyongyang’s state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
The official went on to note that North Korea regards such moves from Washington as a “hostile attempt to tarnish the image” of the nation in the international arena by “invoking the illegal sanctions resolution" of the United Nations Security Council, referring to possible future attempts by the US to seek new restrictions over alleged munition shipments.
“We once again make clear that we have never had ‘arms dealings’ with Russia and that we have no plan to do so in the future,” the official reiterated.
White House National Security spokesperson John Kirby claimed last week that the US had received information that North Korea was supplying Russia with a “significant” number of artillery shells.
Kirby alleged that Pyongyang was trying to obscure the shipments by rerouting them via Middle Eastern and African countries, adding that Washington would consult with the UN on how to hold North Korea accountable for such steps. Kirby also admitted that Washington did not know whether Russia had actually received the ammunition, but was trying to monitor the shipments.
His comments were echoed by US State Department spokesman Ned Price, who suggested that Washington may impose new sanctions on North Korea for sending weapons to Russia.
In September, US officials confirmed a newly declassified US intelligence finding that Russia was in the process of purchasing millions of rockets and artillery shells from North Korea. North Korea later dismissed that report, calling on Washington to stop making “reckless remarks” and to “keep its mouth shut.”