North Korea on Wednesday denied it was providing arms to Russia, state media said, weeks after the United States said Moscow was turning to Pyongyang to replenish its stocks depleted by invading Ukraine.
“We have never exported weapons or ammunition to Russia before and we will not plan to export them,” an official at the defence ministry’s General Bureau of Equipment said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
The statement comes after the White House said earlier in September that Russia was buying artillery shells and rockets from communist North Korea to support its war in Ukraine.
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the United States believed purchases “could include literally millions of rounds, rockets and artillery shells.”
However, citing declassified US intelligence, he stressed at the time that the purchases were not yet completed and that there was no indication the weapons were being used in Ukraine.
Moscow-ally Pyongyang hit out at the United States in the statement, saying Washington and “other hostile forces” were “spreading a ‘rumor of arms dealings’ between the DPRK and Russia,” using the official acronym for North Korea.
“We warn the US to stop making reckless remarks,” it said, while emphasising North Korea maintains the right to export military equipment.
The White House indicated that the purchase of artillery ammunition from the isolated North Korean government, as well as a deal to buy military drones from Iran, showed Russia was in dire straits after months of Western economic and technological sanctions aimed at crippling its war machine.