Russia – North Korea Arms Deal Signals Moscow’s ‘Weakness’ – In a significant development, US intelligence reports suggest that Russia and North Korea are actively pursuing negotiations for a potential arms deals to bolster Russia’s military capabilities for its ongoing invasion of Ukraine. This revelation comes despite North Korea’s public denial of such negotiations.
White House Concerns on North Korea Deal with Russia
The Biden administration expressed its concern on Wednesday, asserting that it has credible information regarding arms negotiations between the two nations.
The concern escalated following a recent visit by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to North Korea, which was followed by a second delegation of Russian officials traveling to Pyongyang for further discussions.
High-Level Diplomatic Engagements
National Security Council strategic communications coordinator John Kirby said that both Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have exchanged letters, committing to enhancing their bilateral cooperation.
Kirby stated, “We remain concerned that the DPRK continues to consider providing military support to Russia’s military forces in Ukraine, and we have new information… that arms negotiations between Russia and the DPRK are actively advancing. Following these negotiations, high-level discussions may continue in the coming months.”
Russia’s Desperation and Weakness
Kirby also characterized Russia’s attempts to obtain weapons from countries like Iran and North Korea as a sign of Moscow’s desperation and weakness, emphasizing, “There is no other way to look at that than desperation and weakness, quite frankly.”
US Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, condemned Russia and North Korea for negotiating an arms deal, labeling it “shameful” and a violation of Security Council resolutions approved by Russia.
It is worth noting that at the end of the previous year, Pyongyang supplied infantry rockets and missiles to the Russian mercenary group Wagner for use by their troops in Ukraine.
Western officials have also alleged that Iran provided weapons to Russia for the same purpose, although both Iran and North Korea have denied these claims.
US Commitment to Sanctions and Monitoring
The public release of this intelligence underscores the Biden administration’s commitment to expose Russia’s efforts to evade Western sanctions and acquire weaponry for its war in Ukraine.
Additionally, it serves as a warning to North Korea that the United States closely monitors these developments.
Kirby revealed that under the potential arms deals, Russia would receive substantial quantities of munitions from North Korea, intended for use in Ukraine.
These deals might also include the supply of raw materials that would benefit Russia’s defense industry.
Kirby assured that the US would take direct action to sanction any entities involved in such a deal and urged Pyongyang to cease these negotiations.
Earlier this month, the US Treasury imposed sanctions on a network facilitating sanctions evasion, which aimed to support arms agreements between Russia and North Korea.
Georgia Gilholy is a journalist based in the United Kingdom who has been published in Newsweek, The Times of Israel, and the Spectator. Gilholy writes about international politics, culture, and education.
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