General Kyrylo Budanov, head of Ukrainian military intelligence (HUR), said that North Korea has been supplying ammunition to Russia for a month and a half.
Reports related to North Korean ammunition used by the Russians had already appeared earlier, but the Ukrainians did not officially comment on them. Among others, there was a loud echo of: photos showing missiles with North Korean markings in the hands of Ukrainians. They then wondered where they might come from. Analysts concluded that they were either intercepted by the Russians or delivered “quietly” by one of the countries supporting Ukraine. In the light of the latest information, the first scenario no longer seems unlikely.
– North Korea has been supplying Russia with weapons for a month and a half now, Kyrylo Budanov told the website NV.
The extent of North Korean support is not fully clear. However, Ukrainian intelligence has no doubt that the ammunition sent to the front includes 122- and 152-mm bullets. This is valuable help for the Russians, because many of the weapons they use come from many years ago and use these ammunition standards.
According to Ukrainian intelligence, ammunition supplied by North Korea is used by, among others, troops equipped with BM-21 "Grad". The Russians have large stocks of these multi-launch and self-propelled 122 mm rocket launchers. They still see potential in them, as evidenced by the recent convoy with units with special reinforcements designed to protect against Ukrainian kamikaze drones. The BM-21 "Grad" can hit targets at a distance of up to approx. 20 km. Each of the missiles used in these launchers has a warhead with an explosive charge of approximately 20 kg.
The US Department of State has already expressed concerns about Russia's plans and North Korea's participation in them. This happened moments after Kim Jong Un's visit to Russia.
“When you see this looking like increased cooperation and possibly military transfers, it's quite concerning.
This is a potential violation of multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in reference to the meeting between the leaders of Russia and North Korea.
According to Western analysts, the conversation between Putin and Kim Jong Un in Russia was mainly related to further deliveries of North Korean weapons to the Russian army, especially artillery shells. Both sides of the ongoing war are struggling with their shortages.
The US State Department expressed concern on Wednesday about the prospect of possible military cooperation between Russia and North Korea, which could potentially violate UN Security Council resolutions.
Matthew Miller, a State Department spokesman, expressed concerns about growing cooperation and possible military transfers between the two countries, calling it "pretty disturbing." He also noted that such a scenario could potentially violate many UN Security Council resolutions.
John Kirby, spokesman for the U.S. National Security Council, further emphasized concern about any emerging military relationship between North Korea and Russia.