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Russia-North Korea arms negotiations "actively advancing," White House says

Washington — The White House said Wednesday it has new intelligence that shows Russia and North Korea are "actively advancing" high-level talks for more weapons to bolster President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have exchanged letters pledging to increase their cooperation. The letter followed a recent visit from Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to the isolated regime "to try to convince Pyongyang to sell artillery ammunition to Russia," he said. 

After Shoigu's visit, another group of Russian officials traveled to Pyongyang for follow-up discussions on arms deals, Kirby said. 

"Following these negotiations, high-level discussions may continue in coming months," Kirby said, declining to give details about how the U.S. obtained the intelligence. 

Under the potential agreements, North Korea would give Russia "significant quantities and multiple types" of weapons to use in Ukraine, he said. 

"Any arms deal between the DPRK and Russia would directly violate a number of U.N. Security Council resolutions," Kirby said, using the acronym for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. "We're continuing to monitor this situation closely. And we urge the DPRK 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." 

U.N. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield made similar comments on Wednesday at the U.N. headquarters. 

"We cannot — and we will not — stay silent as we receive more information that Russia continues to turn to rogue regimes to try to obtain weapons and equipment in order to support its brutal war of aggression," she said.  

Gabrielle Ake and Pamela Falk contributed reporting. 

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