The U.S. is accusing North Korea of providing secrets to Russia by hiding where they are taking part in the Ukraine war, according to classified information.
U.S. officials secretly seized North Korea’s fleet — drones and other weapons that Russia bought from Iran — as further evidence that Moscow’s conventional weapons arsenal has dwindled during the eight-month war. North Korea is trying to hide the ammunition by pretending that it is sent to Middle East or North African countries, the intelligence agency said.
The latest revelation comes two months after the US intelligence community said it believed Russia was in the process of buying millions of rockets and artillery shells from North Korea for the battlefield, CNN and other news outlets reported.
“In September,[the Democratic Republic of Korea]publicly denied that it intended to provide ammunition to Russia,” National Security Council strategic communications coordinator John Kirby told CNN. “However, the information we received indicates that the DPRK is secretly supplying a significant number of weapons to Russia’s war in Ukraine, trying to disguise the weapons shipments as being sent to intermediate countries, hiding their true destination. East or North Africa.
Officials did not provide evidence to support the new allegations. The classified information did not provide details on how many weapons were part of the shipment or how they would be paid for.
“We will continue to monitor the receipt of these shipments,” Kirby said.
US officials, however, have publicly presented the deal as Russia is running out of weapons to continue the war.
Two weeks ago, Director of National Intelligence Avril Hein said, “Export controls are forcing Russia to get supplies to countries like Iran and North Korea, including UAVs, artillery shells, and rockets.”
But the supplies could now help Russia bolster an important part of its war effort: a grinding war of arms on the front lines.
“This could be a major development because one of the challenges facing Russia is the continued artillery fire,” said Michael Koffman, director of the Russian Studies Program at the Center for Naval Analyses. “The Russian army probably went through millions of shells this time.”
Russia is “causing a manpower shortage with high firepower,” Koffman said, a strategy that “could be very costly in terms of ammunition supplies” and leaving Russia, such as Ukraine, to scan the world for Soviet countries. Caliber artillery supplies to match the systems to sustain the war.
In the weeks leading up to the new intelligence, some military and intelligence officials began to disbelieve North Korea’s arms deal with Russia, multiple officials told CNN.
Believing that the deal shed unwanted light on trade when the United States announced the deal, some officials began to tout the Biden administration’s strategy of selectively releasing some classified information about Russia’s pursuit of the war as a victory for the Biden administration. Pyongyang did not want it made public.
But now, despite North Korea’s denials, as the war looks set to enter a second year, the brutal regime believes it has stepped up its support for Moscow.
U.S. officials have argued publicly that Russia has been forced to turn to North Korea and Iran as the longer-than-expected conflict has burned through its reserves and made U.S. and Western export controls more difficult. To obtain the necessary technological components for the reconstruction of stocks for Russia.
New information that Russia is buying artillery shells from North Korea suggests that its shortage goes deeper than precision-guided munitions, which U.S. and Western officials have long emphasized as a weak point in Russia’s arsenal. It also extends to basic artillery.
“The Russians, by many accounts, are stretched thin with respect to some of those resources,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Tuesday. Resources to make certain weapons.
According to Adam Mount, director of the Defense Posture Project of the Federation of American Scientists, the exact status of Russia’s conventional weapons stockpile is not publicly known, but Russia “fires tens of thousands of rounds a day.” North Korea. “They’re worried about finding bullets anywhere.”
Over the summer, Russia made modest advances in some areas of Ukraine with a punishing artillery campaign. But since then, Western-supplied artillery has fueled a successful counter-offensive in Ukraine that has retaken large swathes of territory previously held by Russia.
Bruce Kleiner, a former Korea analyst for the CIA, said North Korea could provide Russia with 122 or 152 mm projectiles and a tube cannon or multiple rocket launcher compatible with the Russian system. Now at the Heritage Foundation.
But now it is not clear how much effect North Korea’s artillery will have on Russia on the battlefield.
In the year In 2010, North Korea fired 170 122 mm shells at South Korea’s Yeonpyeong Island. Less than half were hit on the island, and a quarter of those failed to detonate—a high failure rate that suggests some DPRK-produced weapons, especially (multiple rocket launcher) rounds, suffer from quality control during production. According to the 2016 report of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, storage conditions and standards are poor.
“The last time they used these systems, it showed that their systems were really flawed,” Mount said. “They expect these Soviet-era systems to begin to break down because they are getting old.”
This has been updated with additional reporting.