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Reuters: UN sanctions monitors confirm Russia using North Korean missiles in Ukraine despite arms embargo

A UN report reveals that the debris from a Russian missile strike on Kharkiv on 2 January 2024 belongs to a North Korean Hwasong-11 series ballistic missile, violating the arms embargo imposed on the country since 2006.
North Korean missile Kn-23.
North Korean missile Kn-23. Photo via Defense Express
Reuters: UN sanctions monitors confirm Russia using North Korean missiles in Ukraine despite arms embargo

United Nations sanctions monitors determined that the debris from a missile that struck the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv on 2 January 2024 originated from a North Korean Hwasong-11 series ballistic missile. 

Earlier, Ukraine, the US, and South Korea have already accused Russia of using military supplies from authoritarian countries such as Iran and North Korea in its war against Ukraine. Evidence suggests North Korea provided Russia with a wide variety of artillery ammunition and a number of short-range ballistic missiles. Both Russia and North Korea denied these allegations.

The 32-page report, presented to the UN Security Council’s North Korea sanctions committee, concludes that the presence of missile debris in Ukraine violates the arms embargo imposed on North Korea since 2006, according to Reuters. This embargo restricted the sale, supply, and transfer of weapons to and from North Korea to prevent the enhancement of its military capabilities and nuclear proliferation.

Reuters reports that a team of three sanctions monitors visited Ukraine earlier this month to examine the missile debris and found no evidence linking the missile to Russia. However, the monitors could not independently identify the launch location or the parties responsible for the launch. 

According to the UN monitors, the Hwasong-11 series ballistic missiles were first publicly tested by North Korea in 2019. 

Already in January 2024, after the massive Russian attack, Ukraine provided documented evidence that Russia used North Korean-made ballistic missiles.

In March, Russia also vetoed the renewal of a UN panel tasked with monitoring sanctions against North Korea, which functioned for 15 years. This decision by Russia came despite international concerns about North Korea’s nuclear proliferation and its increasing military cooperation with Russia. The current panel’s mandate is set to expire on Tuesday.

The Russian attack on 2 January on Kyiv and Kharkiv, mentioned in the UN report, resulted in four deaths and 92 injuries in total.  In Kharkiv, the attack killed one and injured 45. The assault severely destroyed apartment buildings and compromised essential services like heating, exacerbating the hardship during freezing conditions. 

Ukrainian military news portal Militarnyi shared photos of a North Korean missile used in a January attack on Kharkiv.

Later, on 7 February, Russia targeted Kharkiv with five missiles, two of which were D​PRK-made, according to the regional police.


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