TechNorth Korea boosts Russian arsenal, supplies major volume of weaponry amid Ukraine war

North Korea boosts Russian arsenal, supplies major volume of weaponry amid Ukraine war

Artillery shells
Artillery shells
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4:11 PM EST, January 21, 2024

"North Korea is the main provider of weaponry to Russia. Without Pyongyang's assistance, Moscow's situation could be devastating," said the Ukrainian military officer during an interview with British newspaper, "Financial Times."

North Korea proves a key ally to Moscow

In the initial weeks of the Ukraine war, many reports focused on the Shahed drones supplied by Iran. Russia continues to receive ready-to-use drones as well as components for their manufacture, but increasing attention is being paid to the intensifying relations between Moscow and Pyongyang. Since at least September 2023, Kim Jong Un's regime has been providing Russia with substantial shipments of artillery missiles, particularly 122 mm and 152 mm ones.

"The DPRK-supplied missiles are primarily 122 mm and 152 mm in size. We estimate there are around one million such artillery ammunition pieces," General Vadym Skibitsky, another Ukrainian military intelligence (HUR) representative, said earlier this year.

The 122 mm and 152 mm caliber missiles are heavily used by the Russians because they fit most artillery systems found in Putin's army. These systems include the 2S3 Akatsiya, the 2S19 Msta-S, and mobile launchers BM-21 "Grad", which can strike targets at a distance of up to around 12.4 miles (20 km).

Growing threat from North Korean supplies

Based on data and audiovisual evidence from the front lines, it is clear that 120 mm mortar missiles and ballistic missiles from North Korea are also arriving in Russia. The latter was first used in January 2024 during the shelling of Kharkov.

An analysis by the international research organization Conflict Armament Research indicates that Pyongyang is supporting Russia with solid-fueled ballistic missiles, specifically the KN-23 or KN-24 models. These missiles have far-reaching implications for Russia and Ukraine as they can hit targets hundreds of miles away. The range of the KN-23 extends up to 429 miles (690 km), with the KN-24 slightly less. The head of these ballistic missiles bears a warhead of approximately 1102 pounds (500 kg).

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