Jhe Russian Defense Ministry is buying millions of rockets and artillery shells from North Korea, a US official confirmed on Tuesday.
The weapons will be used on the battlefield in Ukraine, the official told the Washington Examiner on condition of anonymity, adding that it shows that Russia is still suffering from supply shortages as the war enters its seventh month.
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“This purchase indicates that the Russian military continues to suffer from severe supply shortages in Ukraine, in part due to export controls and sanctions,” the official said. “We anticipate that Russia may try to purchase additional North Korean military equipment in the future.”
The official did not explain when the new weapons might reach the battlefield.
Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. General Pat Ryder told reporters on Tuesday that the Department of Defense had seen no intelligence indicating that Russia was traveling to other countries to resupply its army. He declined to say whether this latest attempt was the first time he had seen intelligence to show a possible agreement between North Korea and Russia.
North Korea has hinted at expanding its relations with Russia, including sending construction workers to Russian-occupied territories in Ukraine to help Russia rebuild. However, this and the military sale would violate United Nations resolutions against North Korea.
The new sale comes after Russia bought drones from Iran last month for use in Ukraine. However, Russia has since encountered technical problems with Iranian drones, US administration officials said. Washington Examiner Last week.
“We assess that Russia intends to use these Iranian drones, which can conduct air-to-ground attacks, electronic warfare and targeting, on the battlefield in Ukraine,” officials said at the time. . “The Russian military is suffering from major supply shortages in Ukraine, in part due to sanctions and export controls, forcing Russia to depend on unreliable countries like Iran for supplies and equipment. .”
The officials did not specify how many drones Russia has already transported, but they believe Russia intends “to import hundreds of Iranian drones of various types”.
Biden administration officials have repeatedly asserted that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s need to visit Iran and North Korea demonstrates that Russia’s war is not going as planned.
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“This information is relevant to the fight in the sense that, again, it is indicative of the situation Russia finds itself in and shows the fact that it is trying to reach out to international players like Iran and North Korea who don’t have the best record when it comes to international stability,” Ryder said.
The sale also follows a wave of tests by North Korea on its ballistic missiles. The country has tested more than 30 ballistic missiles this year, including its first intercontinental ballistic missile flights since 2017.