North Korea Supplies Russia with Over 1 Million Rounds of Artillery, Claims South Korean Spy Agency

North Korea Supplies Russia with Over 1 Million Rounds of Artillery, Claims South Korean Spy Agency

North Korea is reported to have dispatched over 1 million artillery rounds to Russia, which Russian President Vladimir Putin seems to be deploying in his ongoing assault against Ukraine. This revelation came from Yoo Sang-bum, a member of South Korea's ruling People Power Party and part of a parliamentary intelligence committee. He shared this information following a briefing by the South Korean National Intelligence Service (NIS).

Since August, there have been approximately ten instances of weapon consignments transported from North Korea to Russia. Furthermore, North Korea reportedly sent experts to advise the Russians on the utilization of these munitions. The sheer volume of the artillery could sustain roughly two months of bombardment, as indicated by the intelligence agency.

The increasing intimacy between Russia and North Korea was further emphasized when Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu made a seldom-seen journey to North Korea last July. This visit coincided with the celebrations marking the cessation of hostilities in the Korean War from 1950-1953. During his stay, North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Un, presented Shoigu with an exhibition of the nation's newest military hardware. Subsequent to this, a high-ranking military plane from Russia landed in Pyongyang, leading to speculations of an impending substantial arms deal between the two countries.

Pyongyang possesses one of the most extensive reserves of artillery shells and rockets globally. Notably, these are compatible with the Soviet-era arsenal currently employed by Russia in its conflict with Ukraine. With the war entering its second year, Russia's military apparatus has been rapidly depleting its cache, pushing it to seek reinforcements.

This collaboration between Pyongyang and Moscow appears to have been intensified due to the mounting global estrangement both nations are experiencing. Evidence of this is the summit held in Russia in September between Kim and Putin. Additionally, last October, the White House made claims that Kim's government had supplied 1,000 containers filled with military gear and ammunition.

This potential ammunition trade might funnel significant financial resources into North Korea, possibly ranging from hundreds of millions to billions. This income is vital for Kim's regime, which has been heavily sanctioned, limiting its engagement in global trade.

During their summit, Putin made a commitment to assist Kim in deploying a reconnaissance satellite. According to the South Korean intelligence agency, North Korea has benefited from Russia's technical expertise, enhancing its chances of successful space deployments after two failed satellite launch attempts earlier this year.

The NIS has also reported that North Korea seems to be gearing up for another satellite launch attempt. This has raised alarms for the US and its allies, as they believe that the technological advancements from North Korea's space initiatives could potentially aid in the evolution of its ballistic missiles. Furthermore, they caution that any assistance Putin provides to Kim would contradict the sanctions that Russia itself had previously endorsed.