North Korea denies media report it supplied munitions to Russia

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North Korea’s foreign ministry 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.

Japan’s 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 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 inter-pretation,” a ministry spokesperson said in a state-ment carried by the KCNA.

The White House said on Thursday the North has completed an initial arms delivery to a private Rus-sian military company, the Wagner Group, to help bolster Russian forces in Ukraine.

The North Korean foreign ministry statement did not make any mention of Wagner.

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”.

“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 de-struction 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.—AP