Russia seeking munitions from North Korea, Kirby says

Last updated on March 30, 2023

Russia is seeking to acquire more munitions from North Korea to bolster its war on Ukraine, the White House revealed on Thursday.

The development comes as Moscow has sought help from other countries such as Iran as it continues to expend equipment and ammunition on the battlefield.

In a briefing with reporters, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said Vladimir Putin would likely send food to Pyongyang in exchange for the munitions.

“We remain concerned that North Korea will provide further support and Russia’s military operations against Ukraine and we have new information that Russia is actively seeking to acquire additional munitions from North Korea,” he said.

Also on Thursday, the Biden administration sanctioned Slovakian arms dealer Ashot Mkrtychev for attempting to broker the deal between Russia and North Korea.

“Schemes like the arms deal pursued by this individual show that Putin is turning to suppliers of last resort like Iran and the DPRK,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement, using an acronym for the official name of North Korea: the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.