State flags of Russia and North Korea fly in a street in Vladivostok


  • Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev threatened to arm North Korea to counter South Korea
  • South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol suggested that his country might be open to arming Ukraine
  • The White House previously revealed a proposed arms-for-food deal between Russia and North Korea

Russia is threatening to provide weapons to North Korea if South Korea sends military assistance to embattled Ukraine.

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who currently serves as deputy secretary of the Security Council of Russia, condemned South Korea's plan on his Telegram account.

"I wonder what the inhabitants of this country will say when they see the latest samples of Russian weapons from their closest neighbors, our partners from the [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] DPRK?" Medvedev said, Fox News reported.

Medvedev's remarks came after South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol recently signaled his willingness to support Ukraine beyond its humanitarian and economic assistance to the war-torn country.

Yoon invoked his country's past when international assistance poured into South Korea during the Korean War in the 1950s.

"If there is a situation the international community cannot condone, such as any large-scale attack on civilians, massacre or serious violation of the laws of war, it might be difficult for us to insist only on humanitarian or financial support," Yoon said.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov called South Korea's plan "unfortunate" and accused the Asian country of "[drawing] more and more countries directly into this conflict."

South Korea, a close U.S. ally, previously refused to provide weapons to Ukraine due to several Russian companies operating in the country. Seoul also wanted to avoid triggering Russia, an ally of their neighbor up north.

With Ukrainian forces continuing to fend off Russian troops on the battlefield successfully, Moscow reportedly considered seeking weapons from North Korea to sustain its war effort.

Last month, White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby revealed that Russia proposed an arms-for-food deal with North Korea.

Under the proposed deal, "Russia would receive over two dozen kinds of weapons and munitions from Pyongyang," Kirby said.

In exchange, Russia allegedly plans to send a delegation to North Korea and offer food assistance.

Kirby also exposed the identity of Ashot Mkrtychev, a 56-year-old Slovakian man, for trying to broker deals between Russia and North Korea. The White House official said Russian officials supported Mkrtychev in securing a deal with North Korea.

The Slovakian arms dealer was placed on the sanctions list of the Treasury Department following the investigation.

Kirby argued that any arms deal between the two countries would violate resolutions passed by the United Nations Security Council.

Last year, North Korea voted against a U.N. resolution condemning Russia's invasion of Ukraine and urging Moscow to withdraw its troops.

North Korea also supported Russia's narrative that the U.S.-led NATO expansion to Eastern Europe caused the war in Ukraine.

North Korea-Russia Summit
Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) greets North Korean leader Kim Jong Un before a meeting in Vladivostok, Russia, April 25, 2019. Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images