North Korea denies reports that it offered munitions to Russia

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North Korea’s foreign ministry denied reports it offered munitions to Russia, calling it “groundless,” and denounced the United States for providing lethal weapons to Ukraine, the North’s official KCNA news agency reported on Friday.

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Japanese media reported earlier that North Korea had shipped munitions, including artillery shells, to Russia via train last month. The White House confirmed on Thursday the North has completed an initial arms delivery to a private Russian military company.

“The Japanese media’s false report that the DPRK offered munitions to Russia is the most absurd red herring, which is not worth any comment or interpretation,” a ministry spokesperson said in a statement carried by the KCNA.

According to the White House, the private Russian military company, Wagner Group, took delivery of infantry rockets and missiles from North Korea to help bolster Russian forces in Ukraine, though Wagner owner Yevgeny Prigozhin denied the assertion as “gossip and speculation.”

“The DPRK remains unchanged in its principled stand on the issue of ‘arms transaction’ between the DPRK and Russia which has never happened,” the North Korean spokesperson said, adding it is the United States that’s “bringing bloodshed and destruction to Ukraine by providing it with various kinds of lethal weapons.”

DPRK are the initials of the North’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

In a separate statement, the North Korean foreign ministry also slammed the United States’ attempt to issue a UN Security Council presidential statement on its latest intercontinental ballistic missile launch.

“The DPRK has already and clearly warned that such foolish attempt of the US may entail a very undesirable consequence,” the spokesperson said in the statement, calling the US move a “very dangerous act” that the North “has to counter with action.”

North Korea has tested an unprecedented number of missiles this year, including an intercontinental ballistic missile designed to reach the US mainland, in defiance of international sanctions.

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