US accuses North Korea of secret ammunition shipments to Russia
The United States has accused North Korea of secretly sending Russia a “significant number” of artillery shells to help in its war in Ukraine.
“We’re not talking dozens here. It’s a significant number of artillery shells,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters Wednesday.
Biden administration officials believe North Korea is “covertly supplying” Russia and trying to make it appear as though the shells are being sent to countries in the Middle East or North Africa, Kirby said. He added that the secret shipments are “a sign of not only the degree to which North Korea is willing continue to bolster support Russia but a sign of Russia’s own defense articles shortages and needs.”
He did not provide a specific quantity of shells believed to be shipped or how they were being transported but said that U.S. officials are watching to see whether the shipments are received.
U.S. officials in early September revealed that Moscow was in the process of purchasing millions of rockets and artillery shells from Pyongyang, a sign that the Kremlin is suffering from “severe” military supply shortages.
Kirby stressed that the North Korean artillery shells are “not going to change the course of this war,” pointing to the West’s own efforts to supply Ukraine with military aid in the fight.
“We don’t believe that they are in such a quantity that they would change the direction of this war or tangibly change the momentum either in the East or in the South” of Ukraine, Kirby said.
As its war in Ukraine drags into its ninth month, Russia has turned to pariah governments including North Korea and Iran for lethal aid, including hundreds of attack drones from Tehran that have been used in strikes on Ukrainian civilians and on the battlefield.
Iranian officials, meanwhile, have denied they have given Russia drones or other support.
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