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VoA: Rail traffic increase on North Korea-Russia border suggests arms supply to Russia

russian troops ukraine
Russian troops in Ukraine. Image by Ukrainska Pravda
VoA: Rail traffic increase on North Korea-Russia border suggests arms supply to Russia

New satellite imagery captured on October 5, 2023, and analyzed by the Center for Strategic and International Studies indicates the flow of rail traffic between North Korea and Russia, Voice of America reports.

The images show an unprecedented number of freight railcars, totaling approximately 73 railcars, says the US think tank.

The images come after the meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Negotiations occurred at the Vostochny space center in the Russian Far East. The two likely discussed arms supplies related to the war in Ukraine, although they did not publicly acknowledge this.

Ukraine’s intel chief: N Korea already supplying munitions to Russia

On 13 September, Ukraine’s intelligence chief, Kyrylo Budanov, stated that North Korea had secretly sent military assistance to Russia for the past 1,5 months, which includes 122-mm and 152-mm artillery shells and rockets for the Soviet-era Grad multiple rocket launcher system.

Russia already uses North Korean weapons against Ukraine, South Korean official says

“Given that Kim and Putin discussed some military exchanges and cooperation at their recent summit, the dramatic increase in rail traffic likely indicates North Korea’s supply of arms and munitions to Russia,” says Beyond Parallel, a website run by the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank, in a new report. 

“However, the extensive use of tarps to cover the shipping crates/containers and equipment makes it impossible to conclusively identify what is seen at the Tumangang Rail Facility,” the website says.

According to Beyond Parallel, developments elsewhere at the Tumangang Rail Facility indicate that North Korea is not simply planning to resume border traffic to pre-COVID-19 levels, but further expand the facility’s capacity at this border crossing.

Military transfers that are to support Russia in its war with Ukraine between the two countries would violate multiple UN Security Council resolutions and be subject to additional sanctions by the United States and its allies, the center stressed.

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