US North Korea Secretly Ships Artillery Munitions To Russia

US: North Korea Secretly Ships Artillery Munitions To Russia

According to the United States, Russia is allegedly receiving a “substantial” amount of artillery shells from North Korea for use in Ukraine, as Moscow increasingly turns to friends for assistance in the war effort.

John Kirby, a spokesperson for the US National Security Council, told reporters on Wednesday that it is doubtful that the purported North Korean weapon shipments will alter the direction of the conflict and emphasised Western efforts to support the Ukrainian military.

We are going to watch to see if the shipments are received, Kirby told reporters, using the abbreviation for North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. “We suspect that the DPRK is surreptitiously supplying,” he added. He withheld information regarding the mode of transport or if the US would try to halt the supplies to Russia.

The declaration on Tuesday comes at a time when US tensions with North Korea are at an all-time high. On Wednesday, North Korea launched over two dozen missiles, one of which landed close to South Korean waters. Pyongyang has conducted a record number of nuclear tests in defiance of US and international restrictions this year.

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Large-scale joint air operations between US and South Korean forces earlier in the week sparked a furious response from North Korea, which branded the manoeuvres as a “ceaseless and reckless” provocation.

The North Korean government appeared to be “looking for another justification for provocations it has already conducted, perhaps for provocations, it may be planning to take in the coming days or coming weeks,” according to US State Department spokesperson Ned Price on Tuesday.

China, among other countries, has received warnings from the US not to support Russia in Ukraine. Iran has disputed the accusations made by Washington and Kyiv that it provided Moscow with drones that were used in deadly attacks across Ukraine.

Kirby claimed last month that Iranian operatives were “directly involved on the ground” in Crimea to educate the Russian military on drone use. Sanctions have been placed on Iranian individuals and companies that the US and the EU claim have ties to the nation’s drone sector and supplies to Russia.

Setbacks have beset Russia’s military operation since it began its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February. In a counteroffensive in the country’s east in recent months, Ukrainian soldiers, supported by US weapons, recovered significant amounts of territory.

In response to the conflict, Washington and its allies have increased sanctions against Russia while giving Ukraine military and humanitarian aid. A $12 billion funding bill was approved by the US Congress in September, adding to the tens of billions of dollars in aid already approved earlier this year for Ukraine.