North Korea Angrily Rejects US "Rumor" It's Supplying Russian Forces
North Korea on Tuesday again lashed out at the United States, vehemently rejecting accusations that Pyongyang has been supplying artillery ammunition to Russian forces for the war in Ukraine.
A statement in KCNA refuted the charge as "groundless" - chalking it up to Washington spreading rumors and propaganda. "Recently, the US is persistently spreading a groundless 'rumor of arms dealings' between the DPRK and Russia," North Korea's vice director of military foreign affairs of the Ministry of National Defense said.
The statement added that it's part of an ongoing US "hostile attempt to tarnish the image of the DPRK in the international arena." Tensions surrounding the divided Korean peninsula are at boiling point over last week's record number of missile launches out of the north, and joint US-south war drills which were deemed a provocation.
"We once again make clear that we have never had 'arms dealings' with Russia and that we have no plan to do so in the future," the statement from Pyongyang added.
US officials have cited intelligence reports which allege a North Korea to Russia ammo transfer is the latest sign of desperation amid depleting Russian munitions after six months of war in Ukraine.
Last week, National Security Council official and spokesman John Kirby told CNN, "In September, the (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) publicly denied that it intended to provide ammunition to Russia."
"However, our information indicates that the DPRK is covertly supplying Russia’s war in Ukraine with a significant number of artillery shells, while obfuscating the real destination of the arms shipments by trying to make it appear as though they are being sent to countries in the Middle East or North Africa."
In the summer into early September, Western media outlets widely reported on accusations that North Korea was shipping weapons to the Russian military, including millions of rockets and artillery shells, which followed earlier unverified claims that Pyongyang said it was willing to send 100,000 of its troops to help Russia in Ukraine.
While those allegations never saw any level of confirmation, the Pentagon and US intelligence continued harboring suspicions of large covert weapons and munitions shipments.