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The United States will closely monitor the results of the planned meeting between the leaders of the Russian Federation and North Korea and "will not hesitate" to impose new sanctions "if both countries commit another violation of arms transfer restrictions," Spokesperson for the U.S. State Department Matthew Miller stated at a press conference on Sept. 11.
Miller emphasized that Putin's decision to seek military aid from North Korea means "he is having trouble sustaining the military effort."
President Putin launched this war against Ukraine with its full-scale aggression with a dream of restoring the glory of the Russian empire," Miller stated. "That hope, that expectation of his, has failed. It will continue to fail. And I think there’s no better evidence of that than now, a year and a half later, not only has he failed to achieve his goals on the battlefield, but you see him traveling across his own country hat in hand to beg Kim Jong-un for military assistance."
In the spring of 2023, Moscow reportedly approached Pyongyang with the offer of food supplies in exchange for weapons.
Earlier in August, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu visited North Korea's capital to convince the country's leadership to provide artillery ammunition that Russian forces could use in its war against Ukraine.
Moscow also reportedly seeks to obtain raw materials for its defense industry production.
According to U.S. intelligence, another group of Russian officials may have traveled to North Korea following Shoigu's visit. Kirby added that Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have exchanged letters pledging to increase their countries' cooperation.
Washington has repeatedly warned North Korea against providing Russia with arms. On Aug. 17, the U.S. sanctioned three entities attempting to facilitate North Korea's weaponry supplies to Russia.
As the full-scale war against Ukraine takes a heavy toll on the Russian military arsenal and Western sanctions target Russia's ability to quickly refill the stocks, Moscow has been turning to other countries for weapons supplies.
Russian forces have been massively deploying Iranian-made Shahed kamikaze drones in Ukraine, while U.S. intelligence reported in late July that China is providing Moscow with significant supplies of drones and dual-use technology that can be utilized for military purposes.