The White House has accused North Korea of sending “large quantities” of artillery shells to Russia to support its invasion of Ukraine.
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the U.S. believes North Korea “Trying to make it look as if they were being sent to a country in the Middle East or North Africa”.
He did not provide a specific estimate of the amount of ammunition sent. Russia.
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Mr Kirby said North Korea was “secretly supplying” ammunition to Russia, but “we are still monitoring this to determine whether these shipments have actually been received”.
He insisted the goods “would not change the course of the war,” citing Western efforts to supply Ukrainian troops.
The White House would not specify the mode of transportation or whether Western countries would try to intercept shipments bound for Russia.
It disclosed the intelligence nearly two months after first accusing U.S. intelligence officials that the Russian Defense Ministry was handling it. Buying millions of rockets and artillery shells from North Korea because of its invasion Ukraine.
White House downplays importance
Despite revealing information about the clandestine shipment, the White House sought to downplay its importance.
“We don’t think their numbers will change the direction of this war or significantly change the momentum in the east or south”, where the fiercest fighting is taking place in Ukraine, Mr Kirby said.
The shipments show not only Pyongyang’s willingness to support Russia, but also that Moscow’s ammunition shortage is caused by Western sanctions and export controls, he said.
North Korea accuses US of ‘tarnishing’ its reputation
In September, North Korea said it had never provided Russia with arms or ammunition and had no plans to do so.
It went on to warn the US to “shut up” and stop spreading rumours aimed at “tarnishing” the country’s image.