Russia is buying weapons from North Korea, in a sign that Moscow is struggling to cope with the brunt of Western sanctions, US officials said.
Declassified American military intelligence indicates that the Kremlin is purchasing large numbers of rockets and artillery shells from Pyongyang for use in Ukraine.
An unnamed official confirmed the development to Reuters after the story first appeared in The New York Times.
Russia “continues to suffer from severe supply shortages in Ukraine, in part due to export controls and sanctions,” the US official said.
“We hope Russia can try to purchase additional North Korean military equipment going forward,” they added.
Moscow also recently purchased Iranian-made drones to fill a shortage of military equipment, according to US intelligence.
The Biden administration announced last month that these drones had suffered “numerous failures”.
Mason Clark, head of the Russia team at the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) studies institute, told The New York Times that Russia’s dependence on rogue states must upset the Kremlin.
“The Kremlin should be alarmed that they have to buy anything from North Korea,” he said.
Frederick W Kagan, a military expert at the American Enterprise Institute, echoed this view, telling the paper that Russia cannot or will not increase its own weapons manufacturing.
The military expert said the North Korean purchases are “very likely an indication of a massive failure of the Russian military-industrial complex that likely has deep roots and very serious implications for the Russian military.”
The comments come days after Ukraine launched a counterattack near the Russian city of Kherson in southern Ukraine.
The counteroffensive has now spread to the southeastern and eastern parts of the country, Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said on Monday. He added that the action “speaks of a change in the situation as a whole”.
North Korea showed its support for Russia during the war. After becoming one of the few countries to recognize the independence of Ukraine’s Luhansk and Donetsk provinces from Kyiv, Pyongyang has expressed its willingness to send construction workers to Russian-occupied territory to help with reconstruction efforts.
Source: With Agencies