North Korea has joined its ally Iran in secretly supplying weapons to Russia for its war on Ukraine, CNN reported Wednesday.
White House National Security spokesperson John Kirby told reporters that the US is monitoring whether the shipments are being received.
“In September, the (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) publicly denied that it intended to provide ammunition to Russia,” the National Security Council spokesperson said in a statement.
North Korea has been attempting to hide the shipments by making it appear as if the ammunition is being sent to Middle Eastern or North African countries, according to the US intelligence community.
“However, our information indicates that the DPRK is covertly supplying Russia’s war in Ukraine with a significant number of artillery shells, while obfuscating the real destination of the arms shipments by trying to make it appear as though they are being sent to countries in the Middle East or North Africa.”
Kirby told reporters, “We’re not talking dozens here. It’s a significant number of artillery shells. This is a sign of not only the degree to which North Korea is willing to continue to bolster support for Russia, but a sign of Russia’s own defense articles, shortages and needs.”
He added that the US will continue to monitor whether the shipments are received.
Intelligence personnel warned about two months ago that Russia appeared to be buying millions of rockets and artillery shells from North Korea for use in Ukraine.
In another new development, North Korea launched 23 short-range missiles on Wednesday from both coasts and at different times, as well as some 100 artillery rounds.
The launches took place as the US and South Korean militaries are conducting “Vigilant Storm,” one of their “largest ever air drills,” according to Reuters.
One of the missiles fired by Pyongyang crossed the de facto maritime border with South Korea. It was the first such occurrence since the end of the 1950-1953 Korean War, the Yonhap news agency reported.
US officials called the launches “reckless” but added that the event “does not pose an immediate threat to US personnel or territory, or to our allies,” according to Defense One.