Russian Ambassador to North Korea Alexander Matsegora, on Wednesday, refuted media reports about a "secret" nuclear power plant proposal between the two countries. He said Moscow had never made a proposal to the North Korean authorities to build a nuclear power plant in exchange for Pyongyang dismantling its nuclear weapons.

“Russia or as they claim representatives of Russian authorities have not put forward a proposal on building a nuclear power plant in North Korea. Anyone who knows something about this issue absolutely understands that this proposal is stupid,” the ambassador said.

According to the Washington Post, which first published the report Tuesday, Russian officials made a secret proposal in 2018 to ensure the deadlocked negotiations with the United States over the nuclear weapons program will be resolved. US officials familiar with the discussions said in exchange for dismantling the nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, Russia offered North Korea a nuclear power plant.

Reports said intelligence officials from the United States found out about the offer in late 2018 and said it was a new attempt by Moscow to intervene in the high-stakes nuclear talks and to reassert itself into a string of geopolitical flashpoints from the Middle East to South Asia to Latin America. The offer was expected to unsettle the Chinese and U.S. officials who are cautious about granting Moscow an economic foothold over North Korea.

However, all these claims were rebutted by Matsegora who said Moscow had made no such proposals. Calling it a groundless claim, he said the construction of a nuclear power plant would have a very high price tag.

“An NPP costs several billion dollars. Nearly the same amount or even more is needed to bankroll the full modernization of North Korea’s energy infrastructure, including the electric networks,” he said. He also noted that without the modernization of the energy infrastructure, a nuclear plant would be as dangerous as the country’s current nuclear potential.

Claiming that the authors of the report failed to take into account the money that would be spent on the maintenance of such a nuclear power plant, he continued, “The cost of fuel and utilization of spent elements plus the maintenance costs — isn’t that too costly for capturing a North Korean market, which is not very rich.”

In an earlier statement, Matsegora also ruled out the possibility of North Korea acquiring a Russian missile and air defense technologies. He said he could state it as someone who had complete information on that front.

Meanwhile, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told reporters in Beijing that they will take another look at the report in the Washington Post. He said Moscow’s cooperation with Pyongyang was in line with the demands put forth by the UN Security Council’s resolution and the Russian domestic legislation.

 “Unfortunately some media outlets, most notably in the US, have a desire to portray our cooperation with North Korea as something outstanding and demanding an additional study and analysis as if there is a ‘double bottom’. This is an absolutely wrong approach,” Ryabkov said.