Artillery vehicle

United States: Russia will buy rockets and artillery shells from North Korea | Ap-top-news

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Russian Department of Defense is buying millions of rockets and artillery shells from North Korea for its ongoing fight in Ukraine, according to a recently declassified intelligence discovery. Americans.

Brig. General Pat Ryder, the Pentagon’s press secretary, said on Tuesday that “the information we have is that Russia specifically requested munitions.” He said the United States had seen indications that Russia had approached North Korea, but said he had no other details, including whether money had changed hands or shipments were in progress. Classes.

“This demonstrates and indicates where Russia finds itself, in terms of logistical and support capabilities as it relates to Ukraine,” Ryder said, in the administration’s first public comments on the intelligence assessment. . “We feel that things are not going well on this front for Russia.”

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said there was no indication that the arms purchase actually took place or that any North Korean ammunition reached the Ukrainian battlefield. Still, he said the talks alone were “just another indication of Putin’s desperation”.

“He was buying drones from Iran, now he is going to buy artillery shells from North Korea. This is an indication of how much his defense industrial establishment is suffering because of this war and the degree of despair that he is reaching out to countries like Iran and North Korea for their help,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

US intelligence officials believe the Russians may seek to purchase additional North Korean military hardware in the future. The discovery of the intelligence was first reported by The New York Times.

Kirby said US intelligence suggests Russia is in the market for “million-round scale” of ammunition from North Korea, but provided no further details.

Asked why the information was declassified, Ryder said it was relevant to illustrate the state of the ongoing Russian military campaign in Ukraine. And, he said, it shows “that they are trying to reach out to international players like Iran and North Korea who don’t have the best track record when it comes to international stability.”

Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia called the discovery by US intelligence services “another false thing that has been circulating”. Nebenzia later added, “I can only laugh about it.”

The Biden administration said last week that Russia had encountered technical problems with Iranian-made drones acquired from Tehran in August for use in its war with Ukraine. Russia recovered Mohajer-6 and Shahed series unmanned aerial vehicles for several days last month in what the Biden administration says is likely part of a Russian plan to acquire hundreds of Iranian drones from use in Ukraine.

North Korea has sought closer ties with Russia as much of Europe and the West retreated, blaming the United States for the Ukraine crisis and decrying the ” hegemonic policy” of the West as justifying military action by Russia in Ukraine to protect itself.

The North Koreans have expressed interest in sending construction workers to help rebuild Russian-occupied territories in the east of the country.

North Korea’s ambassador to Moscow recently met with envoys from two Russian-backed breakaway territories in Ukraine’s Donbass region and expressed optimism for cooperation in the “area of ​​labor migration work,” citing the relaxation of his country’s pandemic border controls.

In July, North Korea became the only nation besides Russia and Syria to recognize the independence of the territories, Donetsk and Lugansk, aligning itself more with Russia over the conflict in Ukraine.

Exporting weapons from the North to Russia would be a violation of UN resolutions that prohibit the country from exporting or importing weapons from other countries. Its possible dispatch of workers to Russian-held territories in Ukraine would also violate a UN resolution that required all member states to repatriate all North Korean workers from their soil by 2019.

China and Russia are suspected to have failed to fully implement UN sanctions against North Korea, complicating a US-led attempt to strip North Korea of ​​its nuclear weapons.

North Korea’s provocative move comes amid growing concern in the Biden administration about North Korea’s escalating activity in pursuit of nuclear weapons.

North Korea has tested more than 30 ballistic missiles this year, including its first intercontinental ballistic missile flights since 2017, as leader Kim Jong Un pushes to advance its nuclear arsenal despite US pressure and sanctions.

The United States has frequently downgraded and made public intelligence findings during the bitter war in Ukraine to highlight plans for Russian disinformation operations or to draw attention to Moscow’s difficulties in continuing the war. The small Ukrainian army put up fierce resistance to the militarily superior Russian forces.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Kim recently exchanged letters in which they both called for “comprehensive” and “strategic and tactical” cooperation between the countries. Moscow, for its part, has issued statements condemning the resumption of large-scale military exercises between the United States and South Korea this year, which North Korea sees as a rehearsal for an invasion.

Russia, along with China, has called for the easing of UN sanctions imposed on North Korea for its nuclear and missile tests. Both countries are members of the United Nations Security Council, which has approved a total of 11 rounds of sanctions against the North since 2006. In May, Russia and China vetoed a US-led offer to impose new economic sanctions on North Korea because of its high-profile missile tests this year.

Some experts say Kim could likely strengthen his resolve to keep his nuclear weapons because he might think the Russian attack happened because Ukraine gave up its nuclear arsenal.

Relations between Moscow and Pyongyang date back to the founding of North Korea in 1948, when Soviet officials installed the young and ambitious nationalist Kim Il Sung, late grandfather of Kim Jong Un, as the country’s first leader. Since then, sending Soviet aid had been crucial in keeping North Korea’s economy afloat for decades before the disintegration of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s.

Moscow had since established formal diplomatic ties with Seoul as part of its hopes of attracting South Korean investment and let its Soviet-era military alliance with North Korea expire. But after his election in 2000, Putin actively sought to restore his country’s ties with North Korea in what was seen as an effort to regain his traditional areas of influence and secure more allies to better deal with with the United States.

Associated Press writers Hyung-jin Kim and Kim Tong-hyung in Seoul, South Korea; Lolita C. Baldor and Zeke Miller in Washington; and Edith M. Lederer of the United Nations contributed to this report.