War in Ukraine, live: kyiv claims to have repelled an attack near Blahodatne, which the Wagner Group says it controls
North Korea denies supplying arms to Russia
North Korea on Sunday issued a denial of claims by Washington that the Pyongyang regime was supplying arms to Moscow.
As part of a press conference on January 20, White House Security Council spokesman John Kirby released US intelligence footage showing alleged Russian railcars from Korea from the North loaded with military equipment, including rocket launchers and ammunition for the paramilitary group Wagner engaged in Ukraine. In the process, the United States qualified the Wagner Group as“criminal organization” and declared to transmit these recordings to the United Nations within the framework of the sanctions aimed at Pyongyang.
Quoted by the official KCNA news agency, the director general of the North Korean American affairs department, Kwon Jong-un, rejected this “rumor created from scratch” and warned the United States that they would expose themselves to a “really undesirable result” if they continued to spread it.
“Trying to tarnish the image of [la Corée du Nord] by fabricating a thing that does not exist is a serious provocation which can never be permitted and can only trigger a reaction”, he added. He denounced “a stupid attempt to justify” future arms shipments to Ukraine by the United States, which on Thursday promised 31 M1 Abrams tanks to kyiv.
On Friday, Kim Yo-jong, the influential sister of Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, had also criticized promises to send weapons to Ukraine by the United States, accusing them of “crossing the red line even further”.
Russia is, along with China, one of Pyongyang’s few international allies and has already helped the North Korean regime directly. Apart from Syria and Russia, North Korea is the only country to have recognized the independence of the “people’s republics” of Luhansk and Donetsk, two pro-Russian separatist regions in eastern Ukraine.
Russia, which is one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, has long argued against tougher international sanctions against North Korea and even called for them to be eased on humanitarian grounds.