US warns Russia and North Korea are close to arms shipment deal

In this photo provided by the North Korean government, weapons are shown during a military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the armistice that halted fighting in the 1950-1953 Korean War, on Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea Thursday, July 27, 2023. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)
By Dénes Albert
2 Min Read

Russia and North Korea are “moving forward” in negotiating a possible agreement on the supply of ammunition for weapons systems, including artillery, as Russia races to keep troops supplied in its fight against Ukraine, according to classified information recently revealed by U.S. intelligence.

While Pyongyang denies the allegations, the Biden administration announced Wednesday, Aug. 30, that it remains concerned that the two countries are in arms negotiations. It is believed that Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu pushed for more weapons and ammunition for Russia while visiting Pyongyang in July, with additional steps taken since then to secure weapons from North Korea.

In addition, the two countries’ leaders have also exchanged letters “pledging to increase 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,” said White House national security spokesperson John Kirby. “Following these negotiations, high level discussion may continue in coming months.”

The U.S. and EU have long warned countries against supplying weapons to Russia, with China the top target for such warnings due to its advanced military capabilities. China has so far refrained from sending weapons to Russia but has offered other forms of material support and remains a top buyer of Russian resources.

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield on Wednesday accused Russia and North Korea of negotiating an arms deal. She denounced these negotiations, which she says violate UN resolutions approved by Russia, as “shameful”.

This public disclosure of classified information by the Biden administration shows new efforts by Russia to circumvent sanctions imposed on it by the West and to procure weapons for the war in Ukraine. She also warned Pyongyang that Washington is monitoring these efforts.

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