Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Saturday said that the United States believes Russia's Defense Minister is in North Korea to secure supplies of weapons to aid Moscow's stalled invasion of Ukraine.
Following Sergei Shoigu's arrival on a rare trip to Pyongyang, Blinken said that Russia is scrambling to buy arms from allies across the world.
"I strongly doubt he's there on holiday," Blinken told reporters in Australia, where he is on a visit to discuss economic and security issues with Pacific Island nations.
"We're seeing Russia desperately looking for support, for weapons, wherever it can find them to continue to prosecute its aggression against Ukraine," he said.
"We see that in North Korea, we see that as well with Iran, which has provided many drones to Russia that it's using to destroy civilian infrastructure and [with which its] killed civilians in Ukraine."
While in North Korea, Shoigu met the country's leader Kim Jong Un, in what Pyongyang's state media described as "a friendly talk."
Russia, a historic ally of North Korea, is one of a handful of nations with which Pyongyang maintains amicable relations.