Unsettling revelations: North Korea's shadow in Kyiv attacks as Russia launches foreign missiles
North Korea currently stands as Russia's most significant ally, providing an increasingly dangerous arsenal. Kyrylo Budanov, the head of Ukrainian military intelligence, shares this viewpoint. Mainly, Pyongyang seems to send Russia 122mm and 152mm missiles. Expert estimates predict the transfer of such weapons to approximately two million. This suggests a dire situation for Moscow without North Korea's aid, asserts the Ukrainian military official.
Therefore, it's less surprising that increasing numbers of images of Korean missiles in Ukraine are seen online. In January 2024 alone, the Ukrainian defense army reported multiple instances of missile identifications launched by Russia but not Russian-made.
Defense Express highlights another such occurrence. Photos of a missile used in a Russian attack on Kyiv were submitted to the Ukrainian news outlet. The debris does not belong to a weapon of Russian origin. Nevertheless, given the extent of damage, it's difficult to confirm the specific North Korean missile utilized by the Russians.
The shell fragment shows unusual markings, distinct from Russian missiles, which appears to have been attempted to be erased. This is suggestive of large serial numbers, typically seen on North Korean missiles. Pyongyang likely uses elongated numbers to give an illusion of abundant arsenal. According to Defense Express, Russia doesn't employ such markings, especially not on large-scale.
Expert evaluation for precise identification of the wreckage remains challenging, mainly due to the dispersion of the missile over a vast area post-impact. However, it's proposed that the recovered ammunition, as seen in the online photographs, is more likely a KN-23 or KN-24 missile. The first, known officially as Hwasong-11Ga, was designed in 2018 and superficially it resembles the Russian Iskander. It's about 30 feet long, approximately 3 feet in diameter, with a 500 kg warhead, which can be either nuclear or conventional, and a range of 311 miles.
On the other hand, the KN-24, or Hwasongpho-11Na as it is officially known, is a 24-foot long, 3-foot in diameter Korean missile from 2019. It carries a warhead of roughly the same weight as the KN-23, about 1102 lbs, but with a slightly lesser range around 249 miles. Visually, the KN-24 resembles the American MGM-140 ATACMS and serves a similar role in combat. The tactical ballistic missile utilizes an inertial navigation system for guidance and strikes with a precision of 115 feet.