North Korea criticizes the United States for its decision to send tanks to Ukraine

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea on Friday condemned the United States’ decision to provide Ukraine with advanced battle tanks to help fight the Russian invasion, saying Washington was stepping up a sinister «war by proxy» aimed at destroying Moscow.

Comments from the influential sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un underscored the country’s deepening alignment with Russia over the war in Ukraine as it clashes with the United States and its Asian allies over its own growing nuclear weapons and missile programme.

North Korea has blamed the United States for the crisis in Ukraine, insisting that the West’s «hegemonic policy» has forced Russia to take military action to protect its security interests.

It has also used the distraction created by the war to accelerate its own weapons development, testing more than 70 missiles in 2022 alone, including potentially nuclear-capable weapons believed to be able to target South Korea and the American mainland. .

The United States has accused North Korea of ​​sending large quantities of artillery shells and other ammunition to Russia to support its offensive in Ukraine, although the North has repeatedly denied this claim. .

Kim Yo Jong’s comments, carried by the official Korean Central News Agency, came after US President Joe Biden said on Wednesday that the United States would send 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, reversing months of arguments from Washington that they were too difficult for Ukrainian troops. operate and maintain. The US decision followed Germany’s agreement to send 14 Leopard 2 A6 tanks from its own stocks.

Kim said the Biden administration was «crossing the red line further» by sending its main tanks into Ukraine and that the decision reflected a «sinister intent to achieve its hegemonic goal by further expanding the proxy war to destroy Russia.»

«The United States is the ultimate criminal that poses a serious threat and challenge to Russia’s strategic security and pushes the regional situation to the current serious stage,» she said.

«I have no doubt that any military hardware that the United States and the West boast of will be torn to pieces in the face of the indomitable fighting spirit and might of the heroic Russian army and people,» he said. she said, adding that North Korea will always «stand in the same trench» with Russia.

North Korea is the only country other than Russia and Syria to recognize the independence of Donetsk and Luhansk, two Russian-backed breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine, and has also hinted at plans to send workers there to help with the reconstruction efforts.

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