On Sunday, North Korea disputed reports that it had given rockets and missiles to the Russian private military firm Wagner, which the United States had accused it of doing.
This month, the Wagner group was labelled a “transnational criminal organisation” by the United States government for its illegal arms trade with Pyongyang.
Spokesperson for the US Department of National Security John Kirby said that US intelligence has been shown photos of Russian rail waggons entering North Korea, taking up a load of infantry rockets and missiles, and then returning to Russia.
A high-ranking North Korean official denied the allegations in a statement released by the Korean Central News Agency, threatening the United States with a “very terrible outcome” if it continues to promote the “self-made rumour.”
As the director general of the Department of US Affairs, Kwon Jong Gun, put it: “Trying to ruin the image of (North Korea) by manufacturing a non-existent entity is a severe provocation that can never be accepted and that cannot but spark its reply.”
It was “a misguided attempt to explain its gift of weaponry to Ukraine,” he added.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has pledged 31 of the most advanced and powerful Abrams tanks in the US Army to Ukraine in an effort to repel an invasion by Moscow.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s influential sister, Kim Yo Jong, criticised the action on Friday, saying that deploying tanks into Ukraine was “further crossing the red line” for the United States.
Russia, along with China, is one of the North’s few foreign supporters, and it has aided the government in the past.
Luhansk and Donetsk, two separatist territories in eastern Ukraine supported by Russia, are recognised as independent only by North Korea and Syria.
For quite some time, Russia, one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, has resisted increased pressure on nuclear-armed North Korea, going so far as to request a lifting of international sanctions on humanitarian grounds.
In September, Kim Jong Un declared North Korea a “irreversible” nuclear state, and the nation conducted weapons tests virtually every month in 2018, including the launch of its most sophisticated intercontinental ballistic missile.