Russia is desperate to buy millions of artillery shells and rockets from North Korea, says the White House. The Kremlin is likely to use the weapons in Ukraine. US officials say Russian purchases of North Korean military equipment were expected.
But Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, Vassily Nebenzia, has rejected these claims. He told reporters that he hasn't heard anything about the purchase. The diplomat described it as "another fake" being circulated around.
White House national security spokesperson John Kirby said there are no indications that the purchase has been completed by Russia. He added that there are also no indications that those weapons are being used inside of Ukraine.
But the White House senses that the potential purchase by Moscow could include literally millions of rounds, rockets and artillery shells from North Korea. A top US official believes it could be on that scale but there is no indication about whether the purchase has actually occurred yet. Kirby said its difficult to say what it's actually going to end up looking like.
Ukraine's defence ministry mocked Russia saying that it showed "Soviet weapons" had exhausted their potential. It said with Ukraine switching to Nato standards, Moscow was heading in the direction of North Korean standards in terms of weapons, politics and standard of living.
Russia, North Korea Boost Relations
The North Korean media reported that Moscow and Pyongyang would expand their comprehensive and constructive bilateral relations. Kim Jong-un said friendship between the two countries had been forged in World War II with victory over Japan. He believes their comradely friendship would grow stronger.
Russia President Vladimir Putin, in a letter, to his North Korean counterpart in August said Russia-North Korea friendship forged in the anti-Japanese war had been consolidated and developed century after century.
He highlighted strategic and tactical cooperation, support and solidarity between the two nations had been leveraged, in the common front for frustrating the hostile forces' military threat and provocation. Putin had said that Russia is ready to offer allies and partners the most modern types of weapons, from small arms to armoured vehicles and artillery, combat aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles.
North Korea was one of the few countries, in July that recognized two Russian-backed separatist people's republics in eastern Ukraine after the Kremlin signed a decree declaring them as independent. As such, Ukraine cut off all diplomatic ties with Pyongyang.
Sanctions Hitting Russia Hard
Experts and analysts say punitive international sanctions imposed on Moscow are causing Russia to bleed. Its hindering the Kremlin's ability to restock its vehicles and weapons destroyed in the cause of war. Russia is said to be suffering heavy losses in Ukraine's southern regions where Ukrainian soldiers have bolstered their offensive against Russian troops in counter attack.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky says his soldiers shot down five Russian cruise missiles on Tuesday. He revealed that five out of six Russian Kh-101 missiles were shot down only in the first half of the day â an expensive loss for Russia.