Muscat Daily

Russia rejects accusation­s of military cooperatio­n with North Korea

- Anadolu Agency

Moscow, Russia - Moscow categorica­lly rejects accusation­s by Washington and its allies about Russia’s illegal military-technical cooperatio­n with North Korea, Foreign Ministry spokeswoma­n Maria Zakharova said on Friday.

Zakharova said in a news conference in Moscow that the US made up the story about Russian-north Korean military cooperatio­n to get South Korea on its side in the war against Ukraine.

Zakharova noted that South Korean military officials started speaking about military aid to Kyiv right after rumours about cooperatio­n between Moscow and Pyongyang emerged.

She said the US spread gossip to find additional sources for refilling Ukraine’s arms depots and to develop military infrastruc­ture in the Asia-pacific region. “Russia has the right to develop friendly relations with North Korea. Cooperatio­n with this country has long-standing historical roots, does not threaten the security of neighbouri­ng states and is timetested,” she said.

Turning to NATO plans to hold the large-scale military exercise, Steadfast Defender

2024, near Russian borders, Zakharova slammed them as ‘provocativ­e’.

“This step is deliberate­ly aimed at aggravatin­g the situation and increases the risks of military incidents and, as a result, can lead to tragic consequenc­es for Europe,” she warned.

For months, a 90,000-strong group of forces from 31 NATO member countries and Sweden will stay near Russian borders on the territory from Norway to Romania, she said.

“The Russian side has no plans to attack NATO countries,” she said. Zakharova also criticised Sweden’s accession to NATO, which may happen soon, and said it will have an ‘extremely negative effect’ on stability in Northern Europe and the Baltic region

“Abandoning the long-standing policy of military non-alignment and joining the ranks of an openly hostile bloc to Russia is unlikely to strengthen the sense of security among ordinary Swedes,” she said.

Russia will take response measures due to Sweden’s accession to NATO risks, the concrete steps will be defined depending on what NATO systems will deploy in Sweden, she said.

On Thursday, the law passed by the Turkish parliament approving Sweden’s NATO membership was published in Turkey’s official gazette, finalising the ratificati­on.

Admission of a new member requires the unanimous support of all NATO members, and Hungary is now the only ally not to have ratified Sweden’s accession.

 ?? ?? Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoma­n Maria Zakharova
Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoma­n Maria Zakharova

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