North Korea calls U.S. pledge of tanks to Ukraine crime against humanity
By Josh Smith
SEOUL, Jan 29 (Reuters) - North Korea on Sunday criticized for a second day a U.S. decision to send tanks to Ukraine, calling it a "criminal act against humanity" aimed at perpetuating an unstable international situation.
Washington's allegations that North Korea has provided arms to Russia are a "baseless" effort to justify its own military aid to Ukraine, Kwon Chung-keun, director of U.S. affairs at North Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in a statement carried by state news agency KCNA.
"The United States' attempt to slam offensive armed equipment such as the main tank, into Ukraine, ignoring the legitimate concerns and condemnation of the international community, is a criminal act against humanity aimed at perpetuating the unstable international situation," the statement said.
The baseless claims of North Korea-Russia arms deals are an "unacceptable and a grave provocation that must be responded to," Kwon added.
On Saturday North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's powerful sister, Kim Yo Jong, denounced U.S. pledges of battle tanks to Ukraine, claiming Washington was "further crossing the red line" to win hegemony by proxy war, KCNA reported.
Nuclear-armed North Korea launched an unprecedented number of missiles last year, including intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) capable of reaching the U.S. mainland. U.S. and South Korean officials have also warned the North could be preparing for its first test of a nuclear device since 2017.
The White House said in December that North Korea completed an initial arms delivery of infantry rockets and missiles to a private Russian military company, the Wagner Group, to shore up Russian forces in Ukraine. (Reporting by Josh Smith; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)