Is Russia seeking weapons from North Korea amid Ukraine war? White House says Putin, Kim Jong Un traded letters on...

The White House said it has new intelligence inputs which shows that Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have traded letters as Russia is seeking weapons from North Korea amid the Ukraine war

Livemint
First Published30 Aug 2023
Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin (File Photo: Reuters)

The White House said it has new intelligence inputs which shows that Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have traded letters as Russia is seeking weapons from North Korea amid the Ukraine war, AP reported on Wednesday.

John Kirby, US National Security Council spokesperson, giving the latest findings said Russia is looking for additional artillery shells and other basic materiel to shore up its defense industrial base, just weeks after White House said Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu during a recent visit to Pyongyang called on North Korean officials to increase the sale of munitions to Moscow for its Ukraine war.

Kirby said the letters were "more at the surface level” but the talk between the two countries on a weapons sale were advancing. The leaders of the two countries exchanged the letters following Shoigu's visit, he added.

“Following Shoigu's visit another group of Russian officials traveled to Pyongyang for follow-on discussions about potential arms deals between the DPRK and Russia,” AP reported Kirby as saying.

The National Security Council spokesperson refused to detail how US officials had gathered the intelligence.

Shortly before the US unveiled the new information about the Kremlin-Pyongyang weapon talks, North Korea launched a ballistic missile toward its eastern waters, according to South Korea’s military.

The missile test came just hours after the US flew at least one long-range bomber to the Korean Peninsula in a show of force against the North.

Earlier, the Biden administration said that Russia has become reliant on North Korea, as well as Iran, for the arms it needs to fight its war against Ukraine. 

In March, the White House said it intel inputs that Russia was looking to broker a food-for-arms deal with North Korea, in which Moscow would provide the North with needed food and other commodities in return for munitions from Pyongyang.

Last year, the US said Russia’s Wagner Group had taken delivery of an arms shipment from North Korea to help bolster its forces fighting in Ukraine on behalf of Russia. Both Russia and North Korea denied the US allegations. 

North Korea insisted that the “hegemonic policy” of the US-led West has forced Moscow to take military action to protect its security interests.

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