The White House said it has new intelligence that shows Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have exchanged letters as Russia wants to secure munitions from the North to use in the war. against Ukraine.
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby provided details of the new findings just weeks after the White House said it found that Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, during a recent visit to Pyongyang, had called on officials the North Koreans to increase munitions sales to Moscow so that Russia can use them for the war in Ukraine.
Kirby said that Russia is aiming to provide additional artillery ammunition and other basic materials to strengthen its defense industry.
He added that the letters exchanged “were more at the surface level,” but talks between Russia and North Korea on the sale of weapons have advanced. The leaders exchanged letters after Shoigu’s visit, he said.
“Following Shoigu’s visit, another group of Russian officials will travel to Pyongyang to continue discussions on possible arms purchase agreements between the two countries,” Kirby said.
Kirby declined to provide details on how US officials have gathered this intelligence.
Shortly before the White House released new information about talks between North Korea and Russia on weapons, North Korea fired a ballistic missile toward its eastern waters, South Korea’s military said. The test came hours after the US flew a long-range bomber over the Korean Peninsula in a show of force against the North.
The administration of the American president, Joe Biden, has repeatedly stated that the Kremlin has become dependent on North Korea and Iran for the weapons it needs for the war against Ukraine. North Korea and Iran are largely isolated from the international scene because of their nuclear programs and human rights abuses.
In March, the White House said it had gathered intelligence indicating that Russia was looking to strike a deal with North Korea under which Moscow would provide the North with much-needed food and other goods in exchange for munitions. from Pyongyang.
Last year, the White House said it had discovered that the Wagner Group — a private Russian mercenary group — had received shipments of weapons from North Korea, which it had used in the fighting against Ukraine.
Both North Korea and Russia have previously denied US claims of the weapons. North Korea, however, has sided with Russia over the war in Ukraine, insisting that the West’s “hegemonic policy,” which it says is led by the US, forced Moscow to take military action to protect its interests. its national
Any deal between North Korea and Russia on weapons would represent a violation of United Nations resolutions, resolutions that are supported by Russia. These resolutions prohibit all countries from buying or securing weapons from the North./REL
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