The private Russian military company, the Wagner Group, took delivery of an arms shipment from North Korea to help bolster Russian forces in Ukraine, a sign of the group’s expanding role in that conflict, the White House said, Report informs referring to Reuters.
Wagner owner Yevgeny Prigozhin denied the assertion as “gossip and speculation”.
John Kirby, spokesperson for the White House National Security Council, said Wagner was searching around the world for arms suppliers to support its military operations in Ukraine.
“We can confirm that North Korea has completed an initial arms delivery to Wagner, which paid for that equipment. Last month, North Korea delivered infantry rockets and missiles into Russia for use by Wagner,” he told reporters.
The Wagner Group, staffed by veterans of the Russian armed forces, has fought in Libya, Syria, the Central African Republic and Mali, among other countries.
US intelligence indicates Wagner has played a major role in the battle for the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut and has suffered heavy casualties there with about 1,000 Wagner fighters killed in recent weeks, Kirby said.