The White House announced on Friday that North Korea has sent over 1,000 containers of military equipment and munitions to Russia in the past few weeks for potential deployment in Ukraine.
White House national security spokesman John Kirby strongly criticised North Korea for supplying this military equipment to Russia.
U.S. intelligence agencies closely monitored the transportation of this military equipment and munitions, which was transported from North Korea on a Russian-flagged vessel to a Russian port and then further by rail to an ammunition depot located in close proximity to Ukraine, according to officials.
High-ranking White House officials have expressed concern over North Korea’s shipment of weapons to Russia, deeming it a troubling development that highlights the growing military ties between the two nations.
US concerns regarding the shipment to Russia
The White House unveiled images depicting the loading of containers onto a Russian-flagged vessel, which were subsequently transported by train to the southwestern region of Russia. These containers were shipped from September 7 to October 1, originating in Najin, North Korea, and arriving in Dunay, Russia, as reported by the White House.
John Kirby, the White House national security spokesman, strongly condemned the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) for supplying military equipment to Russia, which is anticipated to be employed in the attack on Ukrainian cities, resulting in harm to Ukrainian civilians and furthering Russia’s unjust war.
Mr. Kirby did not provide specific information regarding the exact type of munitions involved. However, he emphasised that the White House’s particular worry lies in the potential for Russia to reciprocate North Korea by offering more advanced weaponry and technology that would typically be restricted under international sanctions.
According to American intelligence agencies, North Korea has sought fighter aircraft, surface-to-air missiles, armoured vehicles, ballistic missile production equipment, and a range of other materials and cutting-edge technologies.
The conversation surrounding a potential arms agreement between these nations has garnered significant interest in recent times, especially after Kim Jong Un’s visit to Russia for meetings with President Vladimir Putin and an inspection of crucial military installations. While their discussions touched upon strengthening their defense relations, they refrained from revealing specific actions or measures.
It’s worth noting that the United States has already imposed sanctions on individuals involved in facilitating arms deals with Russia. These fresh allegations emerged just a day after North Korea issued a warning to the United States, indicating the possibility of a nuclear response in response to the arrival of an American Navy vessel in South Korea.
US providing aid to Ukraine
The White House’s revelation coincides with President Biden’s ongoing efforts to persuade Congress to allocate additional military assistance for Ukraine. His initial request for $24 billion in aid has faced opposition from conservative House Republicans, resulting in delays. White House officials have indicated that the president intends to submit a new supplemental spending request to Congress in the coming week.
Earlier this week, President Biden mentioned that the interim agreement reached between House Democrats and Republicans might compel him to seek alternative methods to finance Ukraine’s war efforts.
To overcome resistance to Ukrainian aid, the White House is exploring the possibility of coupling it with increased assistance to Israel in the wake of the recent terrorist attack by Hamas, which resulted in the loss of over 1,300 lives, including at least 27 American citizens.
This strategy aims to gain broader support, particularly from Republicans who tend to be more favorable toward aid for Israel. Some members of Congress have also raised the idea of incorporating aid for Taiwan and funding for U.S. border protection within the same package to garner increased backing.