OAN Brooke Mallory
UPDATED 12:07 PM – Friday, March 31, 2023
According to John Kirby, a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of National Security, Russia is sending a delegation to North Korea to distribute food in return for weapons.
Any weapons deal between North Korea would be against resolutions of the United Nations Security Council, says Kirby.
The U.S. has already charged North Korea with providing weapons to the Wagner group of Russian mercenaries and the Russian military in Ukraine. Pyongyang rejected the allegations.
At a press conference, Kirby stated that the U.S. has fresh information on the agreement.
“We also understand that Russia is seeking to send a delegation in North Korea and that Russia is offering North Korea food in exchange for munitions,” he stated.
The security spokesperson stated that the U.S. was closely watching the circumstance and the purported trade.
As one of the poorest nations in the world, North Korea has endured decades of ongoing food shortages, including a severe famine in the mid-to-late 1990s.
Experts warned that the nation, which has one of the most authoritarian governments in the world, was in the midst of a serious food crisis due to a sharp decline in production, which had been made worse by unfavorable weather, stringent border controls, and the impact of international sanctions.
According to satellite photographs used by South Korean officials, the North produced 180,000 tons less food in 2022 than it did in 2021.
A Slovakian man was banned by the U.S. Treasury on Thursday in a different instance for serving as a middleman between Russia and North Korea.
The 56-year-old, Ashot Mkrtychev, had organized sales and business arrangements that would allow North Korea to send weapons to Russia in late 2022 or early 2023, according to the treasury.
Pyongyang was compensated with money, commercial airplanes, goods, and raw resources.
Being listed on the sanctions blacklist prevents Mkrtychev from conducting business with American companies and freezes his U.S. assets.
Russia’s ability to replace weaponry lost to wear and tear or destroyed in the Ukrainian conflict has been severely hampered by Western sanctions. They have started sourcing weapons from other nations as a result.
U.S. officials claimed that Iran had surpassed China as Russia’s main military ally in December 2022.
This latest instance of the Biden administration easing constraints on intelligence findings and making them public during the grueling battle in Ukraine is the publicity surrounding Russia’s attempts to obtain weapons from North Korea.
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