US says North Korea will ‘pay a price’ for supplying arms to Russia
US national security adviser Jake Sullivan said North Korea will “pay a price” if it provides weapons to Russia for use in Ukraine.
His comments follow reports that Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin may meet in Russia later this month to discuss a news arms deal.
Speaking at a news briefing, Mr Sullivan said discussions between Moscow and Pyongyang have been “actively advancing” and the Russians “have imbued them with an increased intensity”.
A move to supply arms to Russia “is not going to reflect well on North Korea and they will pay a price for this in the international community”, he said.
The Kremlin said earlier that it has “nothing to say” about the claims from US officials that Mr Kim will travel to Russia.
Russia tearing through shells at ‘phenomenal rate’ and ‘desperate’ for more weapons
Russia is burning through shells “at an absolutely phenomenal rate” and Vladimir Putin is “desperate” for more weapons, a former diplomat has said.
Speaking to Sky News about the alleged upcoming meeting between Kim Jong Un and Mr Putin, John Everard, former British ambassador to North Korea, said Russian troops are using shells “far faster than [Russia] can produce themselves”.
He said the Russian president would not be “doing himself any favours” domestically by going “cap in hand” to Mr Kim, as North Korea was traditionally “a bit of a joke” in the former Soviet Union.
Asked what North Korea stands to gain from the meeting, Mr Everard said its leader will likely demand “a lot of” Russian grain and oil.
But he added that more worryingly, there is evidence North Koreans are using Russian blueprints to “advance their weapons programmes” despite denials by both countries of any collaboration.
Mr Kim will likely “take advantage” of the fact Russia is “desperate” for shells, Mr Everard added.
On the veracity of the reports that the Russian president and his North Korean counterpart are to meet, he said he had spoken to several experts who said the report “doesn’t look or feel right”.
“They think it may be a dud story,” Mr Everard said, adding that another “curiosity” is that North Koreans are “obsessed with protocol” – and it’s currently Mr Putin’s turn to head to North Korea.
Crew survived Challenger 2 tank attack due to ‘quality’ of British kit – defence source
Footage of a Challenger 2 tank being destroyed in Ukraine “highlights the quality of the kit” Britain is providing during the conflict, a defence source has said.
A video widely circulated on social media shows the battle tank at the side of a road on fire with black smoke pouring from it.
The crew survived the attack – with the vehicle believed to be the first and only Challenger 2 tank to have been destroyed in the war.
“This highlights the quality of the kit we are giving Ukraine,” a defence source said.
“In the tanks Ukraine had at its disposal before Western support, the chances of the crew surviving unscathed were slim to zero.”
Ukraine’s southeast is now main focus of fighting, Russia claims
Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region is the newest hot spot for battles during the war, according to Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu.
Officials in Kyiv have made several claims of breakthroughs in the southeastern region, and the US said it has seen “notable progress” by Ukrainian forces near the area in recent days.
Ukraine has called up reserve brigades to Zaporizhzhia that were trained by Western partners, Mr Shoigu claimed, without providing evidence.
Kyiv is pressing ahead with its grinding counteroffensive, with fighting in the south east potentially one of the keys to the war.
If Russian defences there collapse, Ukrainian troops could move towards the coast and split the Russian army.
Military analysts said Ukrainian “light infantry” have advanced to positions within a Russian multi-layered defensive line in Zaporizhzhia.