NewsNorth Korea bolsters Russia with military supplies amid Ukraine conflict

North Korea bolsters Russia with military supplies amid Ukraine conflict

Thousands of containers. This is how North Korea supports Russia.
Thousands of containers. This is how North Korea supports Russia.
Images source: © East News | ALEXANDER ZEMLIANICHENKO
1:17 PM EDT, March 19, 2024

Since last year, North Korea has been providing substantial support to Russia by shipping around 7,000 containers filled with artillery ammunition, missile projectiles, and military equipment to aid in its invasion of Ukraine, announced South Korea's Minister of Defense, Shin Won Sik.

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Shin Won Sik explained that the missile tests conducted by Pyongyang might serve as quality assurance measures before the armaments are dispatched.

At a press conference on Monday, which was held just a few hours after North Korea launched three short-range ballistic missiles into the waters east of the Korean Peninsula, the defense minister disclosed these insights.

- The purpose of these missile tests — whether to bolster front-line forces or for export to Russia — is not yet clear, Shin commented. However, he believes it's highly likely that these missiles were undergoing final checks before being shipped to Russia.

He highlighted that since July 2023, at least 7,000 containers have been sent to Russia from North Korea, predominantly carrying ammunition. This number was previously estimated at about 6,700 by the end of February. According to Seoul, there’s a noticeable shift in Pyongyang’s preference from maritime to rail transportation for these shipments.

In exchange for military support, North Korea is reportedly receiving over 9,000 containers from Russia, packed with food, essential goods, as well as raw materials and components for weapon production.

Shin also speculated on the possibility of Russia supplying North Korea with fuel, potentially breaching UN Security Council sanctions that impose strict limits on exporting crude oil and oil products to the nation.

Both Moscow and Pyongyang have denied any military collaboration between the two countries.

Shin mentioned that North Korea might attempt another satellite launch this month; despite the successful orbit of last year's satellite, it reportedly isn't fulfilling any reconnaissance roles.

Observers have noted that tensions on the Korean Peninsula have reached an all-time high, fueled by a spate of North Korean missile tests that started in 2022.

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