Russia seeking munitions from North Korea, White House says

FILE PHOTO: State flags of Russia and North Korea fly in a street near a monument to Soviet state founder Vladimir Lenin during the visit of North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un to Vladivostok, Russia April 25, 2019. REUTERS/Yuri Maltsev

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States has new information that Russia is actively seeking to acquire additional weapons from North Korea in exchange for food aid, the White House said on Thursday.

"We remain concerned that North Korea will provide further support to Russia's military operations against Ukraine," White House national security spokesman John Kirby said.

"And we have new information that Russia is actively seeking to acquire additional munitions from North Korea."

Kirby's comments came after the United States imposed sanctions on a Slovakian man for trying to arrange the sale of more than two dozen types of North Korean weapons and munitions to Russia to help Moscow replace military equipment lost in its war with Ukraine.

"We also understand that Russia is seeking to send a delegation in North Korea and that Russia is offering North Korea food in exchange for munitions," Kirby said.

Any arms deal between North Korea and Russia would violate a series of UN Security Council resolutions, he said.

Kirby also noted North Korea's recent statements that they will not provide or sell arms to Russia. "We are continuing to monitor this closely," he added.

(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt and Doina Chiacu; Editing by Rami Ayyub and Bill Berkrot)

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