Russia has dismissed a U.S. warning to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un not to provide Moscow with weapons for use in the war in Ukraine ahead of an expected meeting with Vladimir Putin.
Kim was traveling by train to the Far Eastern port city of Vladivostok ahead of a meeting between the two leaders expected to finalize an arms deal. The United States has accused Moscow of conducting “active” negotiations to buy artillery shells and other ammunition from Pyongyang.
U.S. State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters on Monday that 18 months after the all-out invasion of Ukraine, Putin was “traversing his country with a hat in his hand, begging Kim Jong Un for military assistance.”
Miller said that this showed that Putin “is having difficulty sustaining military efforts and is therefore seeking help from North Korea” and that the United States would “pay close attention to the outcome of this meeting.”
“I will remind both countries that any arms transfer from North Korea to Russia would violate multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions,” Miller said.
He added that the United States would continue to impose sanctions on those who finance Putin’s war activities and “will not hesitate to impose new sanctions where appropriate.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed U.S. warnings about the arms deal, confirming that Kim had arrived in Russia on Tuesday. “The interests of our two countries are important to us, not warnings from Washington,” he said.
Weekly newspaper The Russian Foreign Ministry was contacted for comment via email.
According to Reuters, Kim Jong-un rarely travels abroad, leaving the country only seven times during his 12 years in power and crossing the border between North and South Korea twice. Four of those were to China, Pyongyang’s main ally.
The news agency also reported that Kim may be accompanied by defense and economic officials, a sign that the North Korean leader hopes to discuss economic cooperation and food aid in exchange for weapons.
Putin welcomed guests to the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok on Tuesday, which runs until Wednesday. His first meeting with Kim Jong Un took place in the city in 2019.
In a speech attended by politicians and business leaders, he reiterated his vision of moving away from the current global order and touted increased trade between Russia and Asia.
“We see that the global economy has changed and continues to change,” he said, according to a transcript on the Kremlin website. Putin criticized “some countries, mainly Western countries… for destroying the financial, trade and economic relations they themselves created.” system.”