Russia to Exchange Food for Weapons with North Korea — US Arrests Man behind Arms Deal

Key Takeaways:

  • The United States has accused Russia of looking to obtain weapons from North Korea
  • According to Washington, Moscow has offered Pyongyang food and supplies in exchange of arms
  • The US Treasury Department sanctioned a Slovak national for facilitating an arms deal between Russia and North Korea
The Untied States has claimed Russia plans to exchange food for weapons with North Korea to evade sanctions amid the ongoing Ukraine war
The United States has accused Russia of negotiating a deal with North Korea to exchange food for weapons. Pic from Wallpaper Cave

YEREVAN ( — Faced with strict sanctions from the United States and the European Union (EU) thanks to its invasion of Ukraine, Russia is looking to bolster its war efforts.

In a fresh set of accusations, Washington has alleged Moscow is looking to source weapons from North Korea in exchange for food supplies and other necessary commodities. According to evidence supposedly provided to the Biden Administration by intelligence sources, the Kremlin will send a delegation to Pyongyang to negotiate a deal. 

 “We also understand that Russia is seeking to send a delegation to North Korea and that Russia is offering North Korea food in exchange for munitions…As part of this proposed deal, Russia would receive over two dozen kinds of weapons and munitions from Pyongyang,”

 White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said.
Russia is offering North Korea food in exchange of weapons it needs to wage war in Ukraine
Russia is offering North Korea food in exchange for weapons it needs to wage war on Ukraine.

Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s dictator, has constantly improved the country’s military capacity. As a result, the relationship between Pyongyang and South Korea has worsened under him. Last year, he conducted several missile tests to warn the United States and Japan from helping Seoul. 

The North Korean leader has even issued to launch a nuclear missile attack on South Korea and its allies should things escalate. 

The United States has made similar accusations before 

This is not the first time the United States has accused North Korea (officially the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)) of helping Russia.

Earlier, Washington had claimed that Kim Jong-un’s Government had supplied weapons to the Russian army. Moreover, it had alleged that the notorious Wagner Group, a private Russian military unit, sourced several types of weapons from Pyongyang. 

The country has also constantly accused Iran of supplying lethal drones to Russia. While Iran accepts its drones were used in Ukraine, it denies that Tehran supplied them during the war.

According to the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Iran “provided Russia [with] a small number of drones months before the Ukraine war.” Washington, meanwhile, maintains that this is untrue. 

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Last month, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken claimed that China had plans to supply weapons to Russia. However, the White House has failed to provide any evidence of such supply. 

Meanwhile, authorities in the United States maintain that Russia has lost so much equipment that it must find replacements to carry one. 

“Russia has lost over 9,000 pieces of heavy military equipment since the start of the war, and thanks in part to multilateral sanctions and export controls, Putin has become increasingly desperate to replace them….Putin is turning to suppliers of last resort like Iran and the DPRK,”

 U.S. Treasury Secretary Yellen said. 

US sanctions man behind arms deal between Russia & North Korea

In another unrelated case, the US Treasury sanctioned a 56-year-old Slovak national for facilitating a deal between Russia and North Korea.

According to officials, the man, Ashot Mkrtychev, plotted a deal to see the shipment of weapons from North Korea to Russia by early 2023. North Korea would, in turn, receive cash, necessary raw materials, and commercial aircraft, among other things, from Moscow. 

The sanction prevents American businesses from dealing with Mkrtchyev as he joins the growing blocklist of Putin loyalists.

” Mkrtychev’s negotiations with DPRK and Russian officials detailed mutually beneficial cooperation between North Korea and Russia to include financial payments and barter arrangements. His negotiations with those officials indicated that necessary Russian preparations for a proposed deal were complete, and that they were ready to receive materials from and transfer materials to the DPRK.”

  the US Treasury Department announced. 
The US Treasury Department has sanctioned a Slovak man on charges that he facilitated a weapons trade between Russia and North Korea
The US Treasury Department has sanctioned a Slovak man on charges that he facilitated a weapons trade between Russia and North Korea.

Faced with stiff resistance in Ukraine, Russia has begun deepening its ties with other countries. It forged stronger cooperation with Asian countries like China and India.

Moreover, Moscow has also looked to build necessary ties with oil-producing giant Saudi Arabia. North Korea is yet another on the Kremlin’s list of friends that will help reduce the impact of the Western Sanctions. 

Mkrtychev’s arrest occurred when Russia detained a Wall Street Journal Journalist on espionage charges. The Cold War days seem to be back. 

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