North Korean missiles in Russia’s possession alarmed Ukraine (and the USA)

2024 began with Russia bombing the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, and many other cities in the country, including Kharkiv. It was January 2, and news of the attack that caused dozens of deaths and injuries in Ukraine’s second city also reached Pyongyang. It was probably an indication of satisfaction with the success of the attack. Reason? North Korean missiles also hit residential buildings and energy infrastructures. These are part of the weapons that President Vladimir Putin asked North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to wage the war in Ukraine. These may be recently produced missiles, according to analysis by Conflict Armament Research, which documents weapons used in Russia’s war in Ukraine.

The growing understanding between Kim and Putin

Let’s take a step back. Reports have been emerging since 2022 that Moscow plans to purchase weapons from Pyongyang for use in the invasion of Ukraine. In August last year, US UN envoy Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the organization that Moscow was negotiating “potential agreements for significant quantities and multiple types of munitions”. The following month, Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un met at a summit at the Vostochny Cosmodrome, Russia’s most important satellite launch center and a symbol of Russia’s space ambitions. While Putin claimed that Moscow would help Pyongyang build satellites, the North Korean dictator also pledged support for what he called Russia’s “just struggle,” an implicit reference to Ukraine. At this point, speculations that an agreement had been reached between the two countries on arms exchange intensified.

The points that the two leaders agreed on have now become concrete and have overcome the silence of Moscow and Pyongyang regarding a possible agreement. U.S. officials say Russia has fired North Korean missiles at Ukraine at least three times since late December: Dec. 30, Jan. 2 and Jan. 6. These believe that Kim wants to test Western-designed air defense capabilities through weapons supplied to Russia: The new North Korean missile arsenal is designed for a conflict with South Korea and the United States, according to American administration experts.

Danger to Ukraine’s defense

There is also another worrying element and it has to do with Russia’s occupation in Ukraine. Although Moscow continues to use mostly Russian-made missiles to attack Ukraine, it is increasing its arsenal of North Korean weapons. And the increase in imports of North Korean missiles may turn into difficulties for the Kiev army, which will have to use part of its defensive capabilities. For now, Ukrainian air defense is standing. But it may only be a matter of time: In fact, Kiev hopes to receive more military funds from the United States, which are currently frozen by Congress.

Thousands of bullets are fired every day into Ukraine, whose army has been suffering from ammunition and man shortages since this winter. Therefore, NATO is trying to strengthen its stockpiles to provide more assistance to Kiev. As of October 2023, partner countries had given or promised to give $100 billion worth of military aid to Ukraine. According to an analysis by Economichna PravdaThis figure includes air defense systems, tanks and other heavy weapons, as well as less visible but equally indispensable elements such as electronic warfare systems and projectiles. According to the Kiel Institute, the United States spends less than 0.2 percent of GDP on aid to Ukraine. But the support is still overwhelming, given that Washington has provided $44 billion in military aid since February 24, 2022 and is Kiev’s main donor.

Dozens of states joined Ukraine in condemning ballistic missile transfers between North Korea and Russia, saying the two countries violated United Nations sanctions.

Source: Today IT