White House accuses Russia of seeking gun-for-food deal with North Korea as Kremlin seeks guns in its battle with Ukraine
- Russia wants more than two dozen weapons from North Korea
- Moscow offers the starving nation food in return
- “Any arms deal between North Korea and Russia would directly violate a series of UN Security Council resolutions,” said John Kirby
Russia is seeking a range of weapons from North Korea to bolster its fight in Ukraine, the White House charged Thursday, offering food to the starving nation in return.
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Moscow was seeking “more than two dozen types of weapons and ammunition” from Pyongyang.
“As part of this proposed deal, Russia would receive more than two dozen types of weapons and ammunition from Pyongyang,” Kirby said. “We also understand that Russia wants to send a delegation to North Korea and that Russia is offering North Korea food in exchange for ammunition.”
Russia wants to buy weapons from North Korea and has offered food to the starving country – over a field in North Korea
North Korea is facing its worst food crisis since a famine in the 1990s.
Data and satellite images examined by the United Nations suggest that the food supply has now “fallen below the amount needed to meet minimal human needs,” said Lucas Rengifo-Keller, a research analyst at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. . CNN earlier this month.
But officials also blame North Korea for a problem of its own, as leader Kim Jong-un has increased the isolation between his country and the rest of the world.
During the pandemic, Pyongyang installed a second tier of fences along 300 kilometers of its border with China, ending most foreign trade.
And for the past year it has focused its resources on missile testing.
Kim has vowed to strengthen state control over agriculture and take other steps to increase grain production, North Korean state media reported earlier this month.
But Russia’s bid is the latest sign that Vladimir Putin is looking for ammunition as it struggles to win over Ukraine. The Russian president has turned to rogue after being hit by sanctions from the United States and its Western allies.
The government previously released intelligence to present evidence that Iran sold hundreds of attack drones to Russia over the summer. There are reports that China is considering selling weapons to Moscow, although no sale has yet taken place.
“Any arms deal between North Korea and Russia would directly violate a series of UN Security Council resolutions,” Kirby noted. “We have taken note of North Korea’s recent statements that they will not supply or sell weapons to Russia. And we will continue to monitor that closely.’
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un inspects nuclear warheads at an undisclosed location
White House spokesman John Kirby said the government is closely monitoring Vladimir Putin’s actions
Earlier Thursday, the US said it had imposed sanctions on a Slovak man who attempted to arrange the sale of more than two dozen types of North Korean weapons to Russia.
The finance ministry said it had imposed sanctions on Slovak national Ashot Mkrtychev “for attempting to import, export or re-export, directly or indirectly, weapons or related materiel into, into or out of the DPRK ‘.
Between late 2022 and early 2023, the Treasury Department said Mkrtychev worked with North Korean officials to obtain more than two dozen types of weapons and ammunition for Russia in exchange for commercial aircraft, raw materials and raw materials to be sent to North Korea.
Mkrtychev worked with a Russian citizen to find commercial aircraft to deliver goods to North Korea.
“Russia has lost more than 9,000 pieces of heavy military equipment since the start of the war, and thanks in part to multilateral sanctions and export controls, Putin has become increasingly desperate to replace them,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement. “Plans like the arms deal being pursued by this individual show that Putin is turning to suppliers of last resort like Iran and the DPRK.”