Russia offers North Korea Covid-19 vaccines once again as situation worsens

Russia has offered North Korea Covid-19 vaccines once again as lockdowns are leading to extreme hunger.

Pyongyang has until now refused vaccines and aid from a number of countries.

The nation has instead sealed its borders to try and keep the virus out. This has instead seriously ruptured its trade with China. Pyongyang relies on China for food, fertiliser and fuel.

Kim Jong-un, the North Korean supreme leader has acknowledged that his country is facing acute food shortage, describing the situation as ‘tense’. READ

Mr Kim made these comments last month and also told citizens to prepare for the “worst ever outcome” which has invoked comparisons to a deadly famine in the 1990s.

International trade sanctions are believed to have further put pressure on food supplies.

Russia has previously told North Korea that “not everyone can endure unprecedentedly strong, overarching restrictions”, and on Wednesday Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Moscow has offered Pyongyang vaccines on a number of occasions.

He also repeated the offer to provide vaccines should the country require them.

North Korea says it has no Covid cases, a claim doubted by experts.

Last week a high ranking official was fired over an unspecified “grave incident” believed to be related to the virus.

North Korean media later named him as Ri Pyong Chol, a top-ranking military official.

Kim Jong-un also berated top officials over lapses related to Covid-19, North Korean state media report last month.

It was a rare sign of the pandemic’s severity in North Korea.

China and South Korea are among a number of countries that have previously offered jabs to Pyongyang.

READ: North Koreans ‘heartbroken’ to see how much weight the country’s leader Kim Jong Un has lost