South Korea’s military intelligence agency believes North Korea has provided multiple types of missiles and a massive number of artillery shells to Russia to support its war in Ukraine, South Korean defense officials said 2 November.
According to AP News, speaking at a briefing, South Korean officials stated North Korea appears to have transferred an unspecified number of short-range ballistic missiles, anti-tank missiles, portable surface-to-air missiles, in addition to rifles, rocket launchers, mortars, and shells to Russia.
According to estimates from Seoul’s intelligence service, North Korean factories are operating at full capacity and mobilizing citizens to fulfil orders for the Russian military.
In return for the munitions shipments, Moscow is likely providing technological assistance to North Korea for the launch of a military reconnaissance satellite, the officials said. Pyongyang is also interested in obtaining Russian nuclear technologies, they added.
It was reported on 1 November that North Korea had provided more than a million artillery shells, according to Seoul’s assessment. North Korea also sent military advisors to Russia to instruct Russian troops on how to use North Korean ammunition against Ukraine. According to Bloomberg, a million North Korean shells would be enough for “about two months of shelling.”
North Korea maintains some of the world’s largest stockpiles of artillery shells and rockets compatible with Soviet-era weapons systems that Russia is deploying in Ukraine. Cooperation between Pyongyang and Moscow has intensified as both countries face global isolation, and Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin held a summit in Russia in September 2023.
In September 2023, the Ukrainian military intelligence chief said Pyongyang had been providing military assistance to Moscow, albeit discreetly.
Later the same month, South Korea’s senior presidential official confirmed that the DPRK’s weapons were spotted on the battlefield in Ukraine.
Satellite imagery captured on 5 October 2023 indicated the flow of rail traffic between North Korea and Russia.
On 13 October, US Security Council spokesman John Kirby condemned North Korea for alleged arms shipments to Russia.
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