Statement by Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield on Russia’s use of Weapons Illegally Acquired from the DPRK and Iran in its Brutal War Against Ukraine

United States Mission to the United Nations
Office of Press and Public Diplomacy
For Immediate Release
December 22, 2022

Statement by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield on Russia’s use of Weapons Illegally Acquired from the DPRK and Iran in its Brutal War Against Ukraine

It is despicable that Russia, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, is now using weapons procured from the DPRK and Iran – in violation of UN Security Council resolutions – to pursue its war of aggression against Ukraine.

The United States can confirm that the DPRK has completed an initial arms delivery to the Russian private military company known as Wagner, which paid for the equipment and currently has thousands of troops deployed to Ukraine. Last month the DPRK delivered infantry rockets and missiles into Russia for use by Wagner. In part because of our sanctions and export controls, Wagner is searching around the world for arms suppliers to support its military operations in Ukraine. We assess that the amount of materiel delivered to Wagner will not change battlefield dynamics in Ukraine, but we are concerned that the DPRK is planning to deliver more military equipment to Wagner.

For years, the Kremlin has used the Wagner Group to support its dangerous and destabilizing foreign policy while attempting to maintain deniability in the Middle East, Africa, and Ukraine. Wagner’s purchase of weapons from the DPRK to wreak destruction in Ukraine also contributes to instability on the Korean peninsula by giving the DPRK funds it can use to further develop its prohibited weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs. These transfers occur as Pyongyang has launched an unprecedented number of ballistic missiles this year – a serious violation of multiple Security Council resolutions for which the Security Council must hold the DPRK accountable. Russia is not only defending the DPRK as it engages in unlawful and threatening behavior, Russia is now a partner to such behavior.

The United States intends to raise the DPRK’s and Russia’s violations of UN Security Council resolutions in future meetings of the Security Council and will share information of this violation with the Council’s 1718 Sanctions Committee. We also continue to call on the UN Secretariat to send a team to Ukraine to investigate Russia’s and Iran’s violations of UN Security Council Resolution 2231, Annex B, especially given Russia’s renewed use this month of Iranian drones against Ukraine’s infrastructure.

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