WASHINGTON ( Associated Press) – The United States on Wednesday accused North Korea of secretly shipping “a significant number” of artillery weapons to Russia to aid in its invasion of Ukraine.
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the United States believes North Korea is “trying to show that weapons are being sent to countries in the Middle East or North Africa.” He declined to estimate how much ammunition the North Korean government was sending.
Kirby stressed that North Korea is “secretly supplying” Russia, but “we continue to monitor it to determine if shipments are actually being received.” He said the United States has “an idea” of the country or countries that North Korea uses to pass weapons, but did not specify, as the government continues to review how it will respond to North Korean actions. can give.
Kirby stressed that the North Korean shipments “are not going to change the course of the war,” noting that the West is supplying the Ukrainian military with supplies.
The White House declined to specify how the shipments were being handled, and whether the United States or other nations were prepared to stop them.
The US government released new information nearly two months after it first alleged that US intelligence officials had determined that the Russian Defense Ministry was seeking to purchase millions of rockets and artillery ammunition from North Korea for its fighting in Ukraine. was in process.
Also in August, the Biden administration said the Russian military had found hundreds of Iranian-made drones for use on the battlefield in Ukraine. The US government claims that Iran has also sent personnel to Russian-controlled areas of Crimea to provide technical assistance in the use of drones. Iran denies providing drones or any other aid to Russia.
Even when the US government disclosed information about secret shipments of North Korean artillery shells, it also tried to downplay them.
“We don’t think that’s enough to change the course of this war in Ukraine or to change the momentum in the east or south”, said Kirby, where some of the heaviest fighting is taking place.
North Korea has called for closer ties with Russia, blaming the United States for the Ukraine crisis and saying the West’s “hegemony policy” justifies Russia’s military action in Ukraine to protect itself.
North Koreans have also shown interest in sending workers to help rebuild Russian-occupied territories in eastern Ukraine.