Russia is buying millions of artillery shells and rockets from North Korea, according to newly declassified intelligence reports from the United States.
The New York Times, which first reported the purchases, said the reports provided little detail on the exact weaponry involved or the timing or size of the shipments.
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Beyond short-range rockets and artillery shells, Russia was expected to try to buy additional North Korean equipment in future, the paper said, citing an unnamed US official.
Russia’s move to buy weaponry from North Korea, an isolated state subject to international sanctions over its nuclear weapons programme, demonstrates that “the Russian military continues to suffer from severe supply shortages in Ukraine, due in part to export controls and sanctions,” the Associated Press news agency reported, citing a US official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Russia has deepened ties with countries including North Korea and Iran since its invasion of Ukraine in February drew international condemnation and sanctions that have made it more difficult to keep its military supplied with weapons and equipment.
The US has previously said that Moscow has been buying drones from Iran, which has not joined the condemnation of Russia, instead blaming NATO’s expansion in Eastern Europe as the root cause of the conflict.
In July, Ukraine cut ties with North Korea after it emerged Pyongyang had joined Russia and Syria to recognise the independence of two self-proclaimed republics in eastern Ukraine.