North Korea rejects ‘absurd’ claim
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on Friday dismissed reports that it had supplied Russia with weapons as “the most absurd red herring.” The White House and the US envoy to the UN claimed to have “confirmed” the transfer, which allegedly took place last month.
A spokesman for the North Korean foreign ministry said the “false report that the DPRK offered munitions to Russia is the most absurd red herring, which is not worth any comment or interpretation,” according to the state news agency KCNA. “The DPRK remains unchanged in its principled stand on the issue of ‘arms transaction’ between the DPRK and Russia which has never happened.”
He added that the international community should “focus on the US criminal acts of bringing bloodshed and destruction to Ukraine by providing it with various kinds of lethal weapons and equipment on a large scale,” instead of the “groundless theory” that Pyongyang was selling weapons to Russia, which he said was “cooked up by some dishonest forces for different purposes.”
On Thursday, the White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby claimed that North Korea had delivered “infantry rockets and missiles to Russia for use by Wagner” in November. Kirby also claimed the private military company has 50,000 troops in Ukraine and is “emerging as a rival power center to the Russian military and Russian ministries.”
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador to the UN, also said Washington had “confirmed” the transaction and that she will bring it up at an upcoming Security Council meeting. Asked about it at a press conference on Thursday, the UN secretary-general’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric said he had “not seen that statement.”
The questions of North Korean arms exports need to be addressed through the UN sanctions regime, Dujarric said, adding, “I have no further information.”
Iran has likewise rejected US and Ukrainian claims that it sold missiles and drones to Russia, warning Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky on Thursday that its “strategic patience will not be unlimited towards unfounded accusations.”
Meanwhile, the US Senate has approved another $45 billion in aid for Kiev in 2023, a day after President Joe Biden announced $1.85 billion worth of weapons. The Pentagon has publicly disclosed it had sent over $20 billion in military aid to Ukraine just this year, though Biden insists this does not make the US or its allies a party to the conflict with Russia.