SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea’s Kim Yo Jong, the powerful sister of leader Kim Jong Un, accused Ukraine of calling for nuclear weapons, state media KCNA reported on Saturday, basing her assertion on an online petition in that country that has drawn under 1,000 signatures so far.
Kim said this kind of petition could be a political plot by President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s office, but did not provide any evidence for the assertion.
Following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement last week that Moscow plans to station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, a public petition was filed to the Ukrainian presidential office’s website on Thursday, calling for Ukraine to host nuclear weapons on Ukrainian territory, or for it to be armed with its own nuclear weapons.
By Saturday afternoon, the petition had gained only 611 signatures, far short of the 25,000 needed for a response from Zelenskiy. Kyiv officials have not commented on the petition so far.
North Korea is forging closer ties with Kremlin amid shared isolation by the West and it supported Moscow’s position after Russia invaded Ukraine last year, including its later proclaimed annexation of parts of Ukraine that most U.N. members condemned as illegal. It has denied providing arms to Moscow.
(Reporting by Hyunsu Yim in Seoul and Max Hunder in Kyiv; Editing by Frances Kerry)