NewsNorth Korea's quiet port emerges as key weapons conduit for Russia, signaling rising global threat

North Korea's quiet port emerges as key weapons conduit for Russia, signaling rising global threat

War in Ukraine. North Korea supports Russia. The photo shows Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin.
War in Ukraine. North Korea supports Russia. The photo shows Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin.
Images source: © Getty Images | Contributor#8523328

1:52 PM EST, December 27, 2023

The agency analyzed satellite images of the port of Najin, taken from October to December. They show a continuous flow of incoming and outgoing vessels, as well as hundreds of containers passing through the facility. These containers are then placed onto rail wagons prepared to transport goods.

Bloomberg noted that the frequency of deliveries increased at the beginning of October. This is when the United States accused North Korea of smuggling ammunition to Russia. The White House provided photographic evidence of weapons from the port being delivered to a warehouse thousands of miles away in the Russian city of Tikhoretsk.

War in Ukraine: North Korea believed to be supplying weapons to Russia

US and South Korean services jointly argue that the transport of ammunition between the two regimes involves hundreds of thousands of artillery shells. This is particularly significant in the present context, as politicians from the United States and the European Union are unable to reach an agreement on additional aid for Ukraine.

Pyongyang's decision to supply weapons on a large scale underscores the serious threat North Korea poses to international security, now fanning the flames of a European conflict that has already cost tens of thousands of Ukrainian lives and consumed tens of billions of dollars of Western military support, warns the report's authors from the Royal United Services Institute, a British think-tank focused on security issues, as quoted by Bloomberg.

Importantly, North Korea has been prohibited from selling weapons for about 15 years. Therefore, the country consistently denies allegations of supplying Russia with weapons and ammunition. suggests that the Korean regime possesses one of the world's largest ammunition stocks, designed for Soviet-style weapons, which the Russian military relies heavily on.

Shadow vessels and circulating goods between Korea and Russia

However, the referenced satellite images suggest a different reality. The photo from December 9 most likely depicts the Russian container vessel, Angara, which is sanctioned by the US, docked in the port of Najin, with North Korean containers waiting to be loaded on the adjacent pier.

Satellite images reveal that freight ship journeys between Najin in North Korea and the Danube in Russia continue unabated, despite additional US sanctions and widespread reports about these activities over the past few months, points out Jaewoo Shin, an analyst at Open Nuclear Network in Vienna, as quoted by Bloomberg.

The agency further notes that, after the end of the Cold War, economic ties between North Korea and Russia gradually dwindled. The relationship reached a nadir during the pandemic when Kim Jong Un shut the borders, and trade all but ceased.

Nevertheless, in the face of oppressive Western sanctions, Pyongyang and Moscow have bolstered their relations. The cash influx into the Korean regime helps to mitigate the economic pressure of these international restrictions imposed on their country.

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