North Korea has issued somewhat rare statements lashing out at growing US military involvement in Ukraine, with the influential sister of Kim Jong Un condemning the decision to transfer heavy battle tanks.
Kim Yo Jong’s statement came on the heels this week of the US confirming it will send 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, and they were her first public remarks in months. She charged that Washington is crossing a “red line” in its drive to escalate a “proxy war” aimed at regime change in Russia. “I express serious concern over the US escalating the war situation by providing Ukraine with military hardware for ground offensive,” said Kim.
“The US is the arch criminal which poses serious threat and challenge to the strategic security of Russia and pushes the regional situation to the present grave phase,” she added, in her official statement as vice-department director of the Central Committee of the Workers Party of Korea.
“I do not doubt that any military hardware the US and the West boast of will be burnt into pieces in the face of the indomitable fighting spirit and might of the heroic Russian army and people,” she added.
Importantly, at a moment the US is accusing Pyongyang of supplying Russia’s military with artillery shells and other lethal equipment, particularly the Wagner Group, Kim stressed that North Korea will always “stand in the same trench” with Russia.
The US throughout months of the war going back to the summer has issued repeat vague allegations that North Korea supplying Russian forces with tens of thousands of artillery shells, which both sides have denied.
But starting last month the Biden administration narrowed the allegations to Pyongyang’s support to the Putin-linked mercenary Wagner Group.
“Wagner is searching around the world for arms suppliers to support its military operations in Ukraine,” White House national security spokesman John Kirby had said in a late December press briefing. “We can confirm that North Korea has completed an initial arms delivery to Wagner, which paid for that equipment.”
The US now says it has satellite evidence of the transfers, describing weapons-laden trains going back and forth over the small stretch of Russia-North Korea border in the far east.