Russia, under sanctions, buys 'millions' of rockets & artillery shells from North Korea

If you can't make them, buy them.

Sulaiman Daud | September 07, 2022, 03:12 PM

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The Russian Federation, embroiled in a war in Ukraine, will turn to another source for arms and ammunition -- the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea).

According to a Sep. 5 report in the New York Times (NYT), Russia is buying "millions" of artillery shells and rockets from the famously clandestine state, which shares a border with Russia.

Citing declassified reports from U.S. intelligence, NYT said there was little additional information on the size of the shipment or the exact weapons and ammunition involved.

However, it quoted an unnamed U.S. official as saying Russia is expected to purchase additional weapons from North Korea other than short-range rockets and artillery shells.

Impact of sanctions

North Korea isn't the only country supplying Russia with war material, as it aims to subdue Ukraine following an unprovoked invasion in early 2022.

According to the White House, Iran also delivered a shipment of drones to Russia, for battlefield use.

The Guardian reported that these drones could hold three times the munitions load of the Turkish-made drones Ukraine has been using.

However, citing a spokesperson for the Ukrainian air force, there remain questions about the quality of the drones, considering that Iran has been under sanctions.

While economic sanctions have not cratered the Russian economy, U.S. officials who spoke to NYT pointed to this move as evidence that Russia was having difficulties making its own weapons.

So far, the U.S. believes that even China has not contravened the export controls, and has not sold military equipment nor components to Russia.

Singapore has worked with other countries to imposed export controls on items sold to Russia that could be used as weapons.

North Korea itself is under UN sanctions from selling its weapons to other countries, which would appear to have been broken by its latest move.

Following the dramatic downturn in relations with the European Union following the invasion, Russia has been making friendly gestures towards North Korea.

In August 2022, Russian president Vladimir Putin exchanged letters with North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong Un, vowing to build a comprehensive and a "tactical and strategic" cooperation between the two countries.

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Top image from Getty.