Russia buys ‘millions of rockets and artillery’ from North Korea for invasion of Ukraine (US)

With few trading partners and an empty arsenal, the Kremlin is being forced to look to North Korea for vital supplies to fuel its ongoing war in Ukraine, according to a recently declassified US intelligence report.

A US official told ABC News that the Russian Defense Ministry was “in the process” of buying “millions of rockets and artillery shells” from the so-called Hermit Kingdom and that these purchases indicated that the Moscow army “continues to suffer from severe supply”. shortages in Ukraine, partly due to export controls and sanctions.

The official added that the intelligence community believed this was likely to be part of a pattern, with Russia looking “to purchase additional North Korean military hardware in the future.” (Neither country has yet responded to the report.)

The Biden administration has touted the development, first reported by The New York Times, as evidence that international sanctions — despite what experts have called negative ripple effects in the United States — have proven successful. even as the White House has resisted calls from Kyiv to impose additional measures. sanctions against Russia by calling it a state sponsor of terrorism.

“Our sanctions, our export controls and our efforts to further isolate Russia from the global economy are having a significant impact,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Tuesday. “We are choking off Russia’s military supply chains.”

While North Korea would not supply Moscow with the most advanced military technology, its Soviet-era stockpiles could fill a pressing niche in resupplying Russian forces with artillery shells compatible with its weapons systems developed in the during the same period – ammunition it is difficult to stock up.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during a meeting to review the state’s disaster prevention work in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this undated photo released by the Korean Central News Agency from North Korea on September 6, 2022.

KCNA via Reuters

“The fact that they are reaching out to North Korea is a sign that they are having difficulty on the sustainment front,” Pentagon spokesman Brigadier General Pat Ryder said Tuesday.

Ryder added that the intelligence on the arms sale has been declassified so that the international community and the American public can better “understand the situation Russia finds itself in as it once again continues to wage its campaign in Ukraine.” .

So far, US officials have released little information about what actions they intend to take to hinder or penalize Russia’s purchases from North Korea.

State Department deputy chief spokesman Vedant Patel said the sale was a clear violation of several UN Security Council resolutions that ban the purchase of weapons from North Korea, but he declined to say whether the United States planned to raise the issue at the intergovernmental organization or take other action.

“While all UN sanctions are a grave breach, I think what is of particular concern here is that a permanent member of the Security Council is proposing these measures,” Patel said, referring to the statute. powerful of Russia within the body.

PICTURED: Russian President Vladimir Putin, flanked by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (left) and Valery Gerasimov, Russia's Chief of the General Staff, oversees the 'Vostok-2022' military exercises outside of Ussuriysk, Russia, September 6, 2022.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, accompanied by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (left) and Valery Gerasimov, the Chief of the Russian General Staff, supervises the “Vostok-2022” military exercises at the training ground of Sergeevskyi outside Ussuriysk, Russia on September 6, 2022.

Mikhail Klimentyev/SPUTNIK via AFP via Getty Images

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby added that there was no indication that the purchase had been finalized or that weapons from North Korea were currently being used on battlefields in Ukraine.

Pyongyang is not the only pariah with which Russia has sought to broker an arms deal in recent weeks. Last month, Moscow acquired Iranian drones. A Defense Ministry official told ABC News that while the Kremlin would likely seek to import several hundred more, the initial delivery went poorly, with “many failures.”

Weapons from North Korea and Iran may not significantly move the needle in Ukraine, but US officials are watching closely to see if a much bigger power comes to Russia’s aid: China.

PICTURED: A boy plays on top of a destroyed Russian tank by Ukrainian forces in central Kyiv, Ukraine September 2, 2022.

A boy plays on top of a destroyed Russian tank by Ukrainian forces in central Kyiv, Ukraine, September 2, 2022.

Ximena Borrazas/SOPA Images via ZUMA Press Wire

Beijing and Moscow enjoy close trade and defense ties, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has raised fears the two could forge a military alliance. (China remains officially neutral on the conflict.) The United States has warned of intense consequences for China if it sells military supplies to Moscow, but so far there is no evidence that it has violated the export controls.

“In terms of what Russia may or may not ask China, I have no information to provide from the rostrum on that,” Pentagon spokesman Ryder said, “other than to say that At a time of strategic competition, we will continue to watch Russia and China very closely.”

ABC News’ Sarah Kolinovsky and Luis Martinez contributed to this report.

ABC News

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