Russia’s arms purchases from Iran and North Korea signal a growing convergence of military and diplomatic interests between Moscow and two countries considered international pariahs.
Moscow’s arms procurement blitzkrieg comes amid renewed accusations from Washington that Russia is seeking to procure large quantities of artillery shells from Pyongyang, in addition to missiles, kamikazes and other drones it has already purchased from Iran. Putin’s war with Ukraine.
According to one expert interviewed by The Guardian, Russia is planning to keep its primary artillery production over the coming winter by seeking ammunition from North Korea and elsewhere so that its factories can keep up with production. and may be trying to stabilize supply.
The Kremlin’s continuing urgent efforts to procure weapons suggest that, despite a series of recent series of battlefield setbacks of Russian forces in the East Donbass region and southern Ukraine, Russia continues to fight in Ukraine. This suggests that it is assumed that this will continue next year.
The latest US intelligence assessment of Russia’s attempt to procure artillery from North Korea emerged Wednesday, suggesting North Korea may be trying to disguise arms supplies through the Middle East and beyond. It was
“Our information indicates that North Korea is secretly supplying a significant number of artillery shells to Russia’s war in Ukraine, but the real destinations for the arms shipments appear to be in the Middle East. They’re trying to make it look like they’re being sent to countries, or North Africa,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters.
Kirby didn’t name transit countries, but North Korea supplies Iran with arms and the two countries are cooperating on missile development.
North Korea is particularly attractive to Russia as a source of rockets and artillery, producing weapons of the same caliber as North Korean versions of Soviet-era systems and maintaining large stockpiles.
Joseph Dempsey, a research fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, explained earlier this year that North Korea “may be the largest source of compatible legacy artillery shells outside Russia, including domestic production facilities.” did.
In addition to well-established arms supply routes through the Middle East, North Korea also has good rail connections with Far Eastern Russia via a route from the town of Tumangan in the north to Hasan across the border.
North Korea’s arms sales are theoretically subject to Moscow-backed UN sanctions, but North Korea has been successful in continuing to supply weapons.
Jack Watling, Senior Research Fellow at the Royal United Service Institute, told The Guardian:
“Russia is running out of at least 122mm ammunition in many key areas, and North Korea has a sizeable stockpile of those ammunition. perfectly plausible.
“What Russia is trying to do is stabilize the supply of munitions during the winter and close the gap until its industrial base can start mass production,” Watling added. It added that weapons manufacturers had run into a serious impasse in the production of high explosive chemicals.
And while the convergence of Russian and Iranian interests has been well-documented, especially over joint military support for the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, North Korea is now more closely drawn into that axis. there is
Earlier this year, Russia announced a new round of sanctions against North Korea, as North Korea is one of the few countries that has admitted to Moscow’s illegal annexation of four regions of Ukraine that are under Russian partial occupation. used the Security Council’s veto power to block sanctions;
Indeed, earlier this year, an Asian think tank speculated on increased cooperation between Moscow and Pyongyang, suggesting that North Korea may be profiting from cash transfers from Russia. Sanctions.
An official statement by Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un cites their shared desire to expand a “comprehensive and constructive bilateral relationship.”
Far from the Ukrainian frontline, one result of that constant closer ties is the heightened sense of impunity enjoyed by North Korea, which this week stepped up tensions with a series of missile launches. Continuing, neighboring South Korea and Japan.
There is little doubt that the relationship will deepen in the face of the growing problem of Russia prosecuting war against Ukraine.
In September, US State Department Deputy Press Secretary Vedant Patel highlighted the trajectory at a press conference.
“This purchase [of North Korean munitions] It shows that the Russian military is suffering from severe shortages in Ukraine due to export controls and sanctions,” Patel said.
“Russia will also try to purchase additional North Korean military equipment in the future,” he said.