The influential sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has condemned the decision by the United States to supply Ukraine with advanced battle tanks to help fight Russian forces, accusing Washington of crossing a “red line” and escalating a “proxy war” designed to destroy Moscow.
The comments on Friday by Kim Yo Jong underscored North Korea’s deepening alignment with Russia over the war in Ukraine while it also confronts the US and its Asian allies about its own growing nuclear weapons and missiles programme.
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“I express serious concern over the US escalating the war situation by providing Ukraine with military hardware for ground offensive,” Kim Yo Jong said in a statement, her first public remarks in months.
“The US is the arch criminal which poses serious threat and challenge to the strategic security of Russia and pushes the regional situation to the present grave phase,” said Kim, who is vice-department director of the Central Committee of the Workers Party of Korea.
“I do not doubt that any military hardware the US and the West boast of will be burnt into pieces in the face of the indomitable fighting spirit and might of the heroic Russian army and people,” she said, adding that North Korea will always “stand in the same trench” with Russia.
Kim’s comments, carried by the country’s official Korean Central News Agency, came after the US said it would send 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, reversing months of indecision by Washington on the issue. The US announcement followed Germany’s decision to also provide Ukraine with 14 Leopard 2 A6 tanks from its own stocks.
NEW: Kim Jong Un’s sister slammed the U.S. for sending tanks to Ukraine.
In a statement published by KCNA on Friday, Kim Yo Jong criticized Washington for “crossing the line” and exposing Europe to “grave danger.”https://t.co/9rIi0HWRSj
— NK NEWS (@nknewsorg) January 28, 2023
Kim said US President Joe Biden’s administration was “further crossing the red line” by sending its main tanks to Ukraine and that the decision reflects a “sinister intention to realize its hegemonic aim by further expanding the proxy war for destroying Russia”.
North Korea has blamed the US for the crisis in Ukraine, insisting that the West’s “hegemonic policy” forced Russia to take military action to protect its security interests.
North Korea is also the only nation other than Russia and Syria to recognise the independence of Donetsk and Luhansk, two Russian-backed separatist regions in eastern Ukraine, and has also hinted at plans to send workers there to help with rebuilding efforts.
The US has accused North Korea of sending large supplies of artillery shells and other ammunition to Russia to support its offensive in Ukraine, although North Korea has repeatedly denied the claim.
Pyongyang has also accelerated its weapons development, test-firing more than 70 missiles in 2022 alone, including potentially nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missiles.