Artillery types

North Korea is secretly shipping artillery to Russia, White House says

North Korea fired 23 missiles on Wednesday, including one that landed off the South Korean coast for the first time since 1945

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WASHINGTON — The White House on Wednesday accused North Korea of ​​secretly shipping a “significant number” of artillery shells to Russia in support of its invasion of Ukraine.

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National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the United States believed North Korea was “trying to make it look like they were being sent to countries in the Middle East or North Africa” . He declined to provide an accurate estimate of the amount of munitions sent to support the Russian effort.

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Kirby said North Korea is “secretly supplying” the ammunition to Russia, but “we are still monitoring that to determine if the shipments are actually being received.”

Kirby insisted that the North Korean expeditions “are not going to change the tide of the war”, citing Western efforts to resupply the Ukrainian military.

The White House did not specify the mode of transportation or whether the United States or other countries would attempt to ban shipments to Russia.

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  1. A missile launch is seen at an undisclosed location in North Korea, in this undated photo released October 10, 2022 by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency.

    North Korea moves closer to becoming a legitimate nuclear power amid threats from Russia

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The White House revealed the new intelligence nearly two months after first alleging that US intelligence officials had determined that the Russian Ministry of Defense was buying millions of rockets and shells from artillery to North Korea for its ongoing fight in Ukraine.

Even though the administration has revealed information about secret deliveries of North Korean artillery shells, the White House should also downplay its importance.

“We don’t think they’re in such quantity that they would change the direction of this war or materially change the momentum in the east or south” where some of the heaviest fighting in Ukraine is taking place, Kirby said. . .

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The discovery comes after the Biden administration said in August that the Russian military took delivery in August of hundreds of Iranian-made drones for use on the battlefield in Ukraine. The Biden administration says Iran has also sent personnel to Russian-held Crimea to provide technical support to the Russians on drone operations. Iranian officials have denied providing drones or other support to Russia.

MISSILES

Separately, North Korea raised tension on the Korean peninsula by launching 23 missiles, one of which came 60 kilometers from South Korea’s shores, which South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol called a “territorial encroachment”. The barrage prompted the South Korean government to issue air raid warnings, telling people to “head for the bunkers”.

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It was the first time a ballistic missile had landed near southern waters since the division of the peninsula in 1945, and the most missiles fired from the north in a single day. South Korea issued rare air raid warnings and launched its own missiles in response.

The missile landed outside South Korean territorial waters, but south of the Northern Limit Line (NLL), a disputed inter-Korean maritime border.

South Korean warplanes fired three air-to-surface missiles into the sea to the north through the NLL in response, the South Korean military said. An official said the weapons used included an AGM-84H/K SLAM-ER, which is an American-made “ranged” precision attack weapon that can fly up to 270 km (170 miles) with a 360 -kg (800 -lb) warhead.

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The Southern launches came after Yoon’s office promised a “quick and firm response”.

“President Yoon Suk-yeol noted that North Korea’s provocation today was an effective act of territorial encroachment by a missile penetrating the NLL for the first time since the split (of the two Koreas),” said his office in a statement.

When asked if the missile was flying towards the southern territory and should have been intercepted, a senior presidential official said: “Strictly speaking, it did not land in our territory but in the exclusive economic zone under our jurisdiction, it was therefore not subject to interception.”

The United States has condemned the North’s missile launches and “its reckless decision to fire a missile below the de facto maritime border with the Republic of Korea,” a State Department spokesman said Wednesday, using the name Southern official.

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North Korea has repeatedly launched missiles over the past year in violation of several UN Security Council resolutions, US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said.

“It’s unprecedented in the sense that there have been so many,” she said of Wednesday’s launches.

AIR RAID SIRENS

The missile that smashed through the NLL was one of three short-range ballistic missiles fired from North Korea’s Wonsan coastal area out to sea, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said. The JCS later said that 14 more missiles of various types were fired from North Korea’s east and west coasts.

The JCS said at least one of the missiles landed 26 km south of the NLL, 57 km from the South Korean city of Sokcho on the east coast, and 167 km from Ulleung Island. .

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Ulleungdo received an airstrike warning which was broadcast on national television and ordered citizens to “evacuate to the nearest underground bunker”.

“We heard the siren around 8:55 a.m. and all of us in the building went down to the basement evacuation location,” an Ulleung county official told Reuters. “We stayed there until we went upstairs around 9:15 a.m. after hearing the projectile had fallen on the high seas.”

The North also fired more than 100 artillery rounds from its east coast into a military buffer zone, the South Korean military said. The shooting violated a 2018 military agreement banning hostile acts in border areas, the JCS said.

North Korea and South Korea are technically still at war because their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.

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Nuclear-armed North Korea has tested a record number of missiles this year, and officials in Seoul and Washington have said the North has completed technical preparations to conduct a nuclear weapon test for the first times since 2017.

The launches came just hours after Pyongyang demanded that the United States and South Korea halt large-scale military exercises, saying “military recklessness and provocation can no longer be tolerated”.

Although Yoon declared a national week of mourning after more than 150 people were killed in a weekend surge in Seoul, the United States and South Korea began one of their largest combined military air exercises. Dubbed Vigilant Storm, the drills involve hundreds of fighter jets from both sides staging simulated attacks around the clock.

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