WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States and its partners condemned in a joint statement on Tuesday arms transfers between North Korea and Russia, including what they called Russia’s purchase of ballistic missiles North Koreans and their use by Moscow against Ukraine on December 30. January 2.
Moscow and Pyongyang have grown closer since the start of the Ukrainian conflict, even if they deny having concluded any arms agreement. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met with President Vladimir Putin in the Russian Far East last September and senior Russian officials have made several visits to Pyongyang.
Last week, the White House said Russia used short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) from North Korea to carry out multiple strikes against Ukraine, citing recently declassified intelligence. A senior Ukrainian official later corroborated this claim.
“We are deeply concerned about the security implications of this cooperation in Europe, the Korean Peninsula, the Indo-Pacific region and the world,” the joint statement added. The declaration was signed by the US, UK, EU, Australia, Germany, Canada and nearly 40 other partner countries.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the export (from North Korea) and purchase by Russia of ballistic missiles (from North Korea), as well as Russia’s use of these missiles against Ukraine on December 30, 2023 and January 2, 2024,” the joint statement said. added.
Asked about the accusations in a call with reporters, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday: “No comment.”
Last week, Russia attacked Kharkiv with several missiles, killing two people and injuring more than 60 others in one of its largest missile and drone strikes since the start of the full-scale war in February 2022 .
White House national security spokesman John Kirby said Washington would raise these Russia-North Korea arms deals at the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday and demand that “Russia be held responsible”.
North Korea has been under a United Nations arms embargo since it first tested a nuclear bomb in 2006.
U.N. Security Council resolutions — approved with Russian support — prohibit countries from trading weapons or other military equipment with North Korea.
(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington; Editing by Leslie Adler, Sandra Maler and Jonathan Oatis)
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