North Korea’s foreign ministry has denied a media report it supplied 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, December 23.
Japanese media, Tokyo Shimbun reported earlier that North Korea had shipped munitions, including artillery shells, to Russia via train through their border last month and that additional shipments were expected in the coming weeks.
The White House then said on Thursday that North Korea has completed an initial arms delivery to a private Russian military company, the Wagner Group (pictured below), to help bolster Russian forces in Ukraine.
According to the White House, Wagner took delivery of infantry rockets and missiles from North Korea, though Wagner owner Yevgeny Prigozhin denied the assertion as “gossip and speculation”.
North Korea alongside countries like Iran, Belarus and Syria have supported Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“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.
The North Korean foreign ministry statement did not make any mention of Wagner.
“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 is “bringing bloodshed and destruction to Ukraine by providing it with various kinds of lethal weapons.”