White House says Putin and Kim Jong Un traded letters as Russia looks for munitions from North Korea

Russian President Vladimir Putin listens to Igor Shuvalov, chairman of the Russian state development corporation VEB.RF during their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023. (Gavriil Grigorov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House on Wednesday said that it has new intelligence that shows Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have swapped letters as Russia looks to North Korea for munitions for the Ukraine war.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby detailed the latest finding just weeks after the White House said that it had determined that Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu during a recent visit to Pyongyang called on North Korean officials to increase the sale of munitions to Moscow for its war in Ukraine.

Kirby said that Russia is looking for additional artillery shells and other basic materiel to shore up Russia’s defense industrial base.

The Biden administration has repeatedly made the case that the Kremlin has become reliant on North Korea, as well as Iran, for the arms it needs to fight its war against Ukraine. North Korea and Iran are largely isolated on the international stage for their nuclear programs and human rights records.

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