Moscow Armed by North Korea


U.S. Intelligence says that Russia’s Ministry of Defense bought millions of artillery shells and rockets from North Korea. To the western hemisphere, Moscow’s purchase from North Korea is a sign that global sanctions have had a tremendous impact on Russian supply lines during the war in Ukraine.

According to the New York Times, the U.S. expects Russia to continue buying “additional North Korean equipment going forward.” Due to economic pressure from the U.S. and NATO, Russia has been relying on support from adversaries of the U.S. such as Iran and China.

“It does demonstrate and is indicative of the situation that Russia finds itself in, in terms of its logistics and sustainment capabilities as it relates to Ukraine,” Pentagon Press Secretary Patrick S. Ryder said. “We assess that things are not going well on that front for Russia.”

Russia’s dependence on pariah states is concerning for their global status as the largest oil exporter in the world, producing 8 million barrels of crude and oil every day. In response to this discovery of the purchase, Russia’s United Nations Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said U.S. Intelligence found “another fake thing that’s been circulated”.

“The Kremlin should be alarmed that it has to buy anything at all from North Korea,” said Analyst Mason Clark, who leads the Russia team at the Institute for the Study of War.

The Kremlin should be alarmed that it has to buy anything at all from North Korea.

— Mason Clark

Furthermore, the Associated Press reports North Korea is willing to send laborers to rebuild parts of eastern Ukraine held by Russia. The export of munitions and possible laborers shows North Korea may contravene U.N. resolutions once more on behalf of Russia.

North Korea, who test fired 30 ballistic missiles, including its first intercontinental missiles since 2017, has not been enforced by sanctions from Russia and China, complicating a western attempt to deprive Pyongyang of their nuclear arsenal.

It’s not only North Korea who has developed close ties to Moscow since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, though. The war in Ukraine also propelled the strength of Russian-Iranian relations. Just last month, the Biden administration disclosed that Tehran sent armed drones to Russia and that Moscow launched an Iranian satellite. Western officials conclude that the satellite was likely used for intelligence purposes in Ukraine; however, Iran denies all accusations, stating that it will merely be used for agricultural research.

Although Russia has worked with Iran’s military and intelligence to support the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, Iran’s decision to support a foreign war is unprecedented.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine seems to have led Moscow to depend on the United States’ adversaries, shifting supposed allegiances in the process.