North Korea refutes selling weapons to Russia
Following reports by the United States that Moscow was turning to Pyongyang to replenish stockpiles, North Korea has denied selling weapons to Russia and has no plans to do so in the future.
Earlier, US officials said that Russia could buy rockets and artillery shells from North Korea.
According to the officials, such moves, along with alleged purchases of Iranian weapons, implied Western sanctions were hindering Russia’s efforts in the Ukraine war.
Moscow refuted the reports at the time.
However, any arms movement between the two countries would be in breach of United Nations sanctions.
According to a statement on Thursday carried out by North Korean state media KCNA, an anonymous official at North Korea’s defence ministry said: “We have never exported weapons or ammunition to Russia before and we will not plan to export them.”
It condemned the US, and other “hostile forces”, of spreading rumours to “pursue its base political and military aims”.
In early September, a US State Department spokesman said Russia’s North Korean purchases “could include literally millions of rounds, rockets and artillery shells.”
However, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby later showed up to caveat that statement, by saying the purchases had not yet been completed and there was no evidence to suggest the weapons would be used in the Ukraine war.
Russia’s raid on Ukraine in February has proven expensive for its military, despite using advanced weapons such as cruise missiles.
Ukrainian forces, using Western weapons that have been funnelled into the country in recent months, have inflicted heavy losses.
Several amongst North Korea’s Russian-designed weapons hail from the Soviet era, but it has missiles identical to Russian ones.
North Korea in July, was one of the few countries that officially recognised two Russian-backed separatist regions in eastern Ukraine. In reaction, Ukraine cut off all diplomatic ties with Pyongyang.
Earlier this month, Russian president Vladimir Putin pledged to expand their “comprehensive and constructive bilateral relations” in a letter to his counterpart Kim Jong-un.