US: North Korea will sell rockets and artillery munitions to Russia

US: North Korea will sell rockets and artillery munitions to Russia

russia news on ukraine : North Korea will sell rockets and artillery munitions to Russia
People walk through a hole caused by an explosion outside the Ukrainian Red Cross Society following a Russian strike yesterday in Sloviansk, Ukraine, Monday, September 5, 2022. Leo Correa/AP Photo

According to a newly downgraded US intelligence assessment, the Russian Defense Ministry is in the midst of purchasing millions of missiles and artillery rounds from North Korea for the current conflict in Ukraine.

The fact that Russia is turning to the isolated state of North Korea, according to a US official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the intelligence finding, shows that "the Russian military continues to suffer severe supply shortages in Ukraine due, in part, to export controls and sanctions."

According to US intelligence experts, Russia may acquire additional North Korean military equipment in the future. The New York Times was the first to report on the intelligence findings.

The US official did not specify how many weapons Russia planned to purchase from North Korea.

The discovery follows the recent confirmation by the Biden administration that the Russian military obtained Iranian-made drones in August for deployment on the Ukrainian battlefield.

The White House stated last week that Russia is experiencing technical difficulties with Iranian-made drones purchased by Tehran in August for use in the conflict with Ukraine.

Last month, Russia took up Mohajer-6 and Shahed unmanned aerial vehicles, which the Biden Administration believes are part of a Russian strategy to obtain hundreds of Iranian UAVs for use in Ukraine.

While most of Europe and the West has retreated, North Korea has attempted to build ties with Russia. It has blamed the US for the Ukraine conflict, citing the West's "hegemonic strategy" as justification for Russia's military intervention in Ukraine to protect itself.

North Korea has shown interest in sending construction workers to assist restore Russian-occupied territories in the country's east.

The North Korean ambassador to Moscow recently met with representatives from two Russian-backed rebel groups in Ukraine's Donbass region, expressing excitement for "labor migration cooperation," referring to his country's relaxation of internal border controls.

North Korea, along with Russia and Syria, became the only country to recognize the independence of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in July, siding with Russia in the Ukraine war.

North Korea's aggressive action comes at a time when the Biden administration is growing increasingly worried about North Korea's expanding nuclear-weapons activities.

North Korea has fired over 30 ballistic missiles this year, including the first intercontinental ballistic missile flights since 2017, as leader Kim Jong Un continues to build up his nuclear arsenal despite US pressure and sanctions.

Throughout the arduous battle in Ukraine, the US has regularly degraded and exposed intelligence in order to uncover Russian disinformation campaigns or to bring attention to Moscow's problems in prosecuting the fight. The weaker Ukrainian military has fought valiantly against Russia's militarily stronger forces.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un recently exchanged letters in which they both urged for "comprehensive" and "strategic and tactical" collaboration. Moscow, for its part, has released remarks criticizing the restart of large-scale military drills between the United States and South Korea this year, which North Korea sees as a dress rehearsal for invasion.

Russia has joined China in demanding for the United Nations sanctions against North Korea to be lifted in response to its nuclear and missile tests. Both nations are members of the United Nations Security Council, which has imposed 11 rounds of sanctions on North Korea since 2006. Russia and China blocked a proposal sponsored by the United States to impose further economic penalties on North Korea for its high-profile missile launches this year in May.

Some observers believe Kim is hardening his resolve to keep his nuclear weapons because he feels Russia attacked Ukraine because Ukraine gave up its nuclear arsenal.

Relations between Moscow and Pyongyang trace back to the establishment of North Korea in 1948, when Soviet officials appointed Kim Il Sung, the late grandfather of Kim Jong Un, as the country's first dictator. Since then, Soviet help has kept North Korea's economy viable for decades, until the Soviet Union fell in the early 1990s.

Since then, Moscow has established official diplomatic relations with Seoul in order to lure South Korean investment, and it has allowed its Soviet-era military alliance with North Korea to expire. However, following his victory in 2000, Putin actively tried to repair his country's relations with North Korea, which was regarded as an attempt to reclaim its old domains of influence and obtain more friends to better cope with the US.

This article was contributed to by Associated Press reporters Hyung-jin Kim and Kim Tong-hyung in Seoul, South Korea.

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