North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is slated to meet in Russia with President Vladimir Putin later this month, according to a US official quoted by CBS News and the BBC.
The two leaders will allegedly discuss the possibility of North Korea providing Russia with weapons for use in its war against Ukraine.
The US has said it will impose sanctions and take other actions if North Korea supplies Russia with weapons.
It’s not yet clear where in Russia the talks will be held.
US National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said in a briefing that Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu attempted during his July visit to North Korea to convince the Pyongyang leadership “to sell artillery ammunition” to Moscow.
Kim and Putin have since exchanged letters “pledging to increase their bilateral cooperation,” Kirby said.
“We urge the DPRK (North Korea) to cease its arms negotiations with Russia and abide by the public commitments that Pyongyang has made to not provide or sell arms to Russia,” he said.
The United States also accused North Korea of supplying weapons to Russia last year as well.
“Our information indicates that the DPRK is covertly supplying Russia’s war in Ukraine with a significant number of artillery shells, while obfuscating the real destination of the arms shipments by trying to make it appear as though they are being sent to countries in the Middle East or North Africa,” Kirby said at a November briefing.
“We’re not talking dozens here. It’s a significant number of artillery shells. This is a sign of not only the degree to which North Korea is willing to continue to bolster support for Russia, but a sign of Russia’s own defense articles, shortages and needs,” he said at the time.
Intelligence personnel warned earlier in 2022 that Russia appeared to be buying millions of rockets and artillery shells from North Korea for use in Ukraine.