South Korea Investigates North Korea’s Role in Arming Russia

Written by Camilla Jessen

May.13 - 2024 1:23 PM CET

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Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
South Korea's spy agency is investigating North Korea's suspected provision of weapons to Russia.

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South Korea's National Intelligence Service (NIS) announced on Sunday that it is currently investigating allegations that North Korea has been supplying Soviet-era weapons to Russia for use in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

This investigation comes amid growing concerns about increased military cooperation between Pyongyang and Moscow.

According to a report by Yonhap, it is suspected that 122 mm artillery shells, manufactured in North Korea during the 1970s, have been spotted among the armaments deployed by Russia in its military actions against Ukraine.

The NIS stated that it is "analyzing the relevant circumstance in detail and also continues to track overall military cooperation between North Korea and Russia."

Evidence supporting these allegations surfaced from photographs by a Ukrainian photographer last year, showing artillery shells marked with Korean characters, specifically "방-122," believed to designate 122 mm multiple rocket launcher shells.

South Korea's Defense Minister, Shin Won-sik, stated that North Korea has shipped about 6,700 containers to Russia since a summit in September between the two countries' leaders. These containers might contain up to 3 million rounds of 152 mm artillery shells or 500,000 rounds of 122 mm artillery shells.

The NIS is also concerned about illegal missile part shipments into North Korea, which could enhance Pyongyang's weaponry development.

This follows North Korea's announcement of deploying a new 240mm multiple rocket launcher system, which leader Kim Jong-un reportedly observed during a test-firing of controllable shells the day before the announcement.

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