Less than a month after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un traveled to Russia for “four eyes” talks with President Vladimir Putin, the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) has begun sending artillery to Moscow for use against Ukraine.
According to a report by CBS News, it was not immediately clear whether the transfer was one of an ongoing supply chain between the two countries, or part of a new initiative launched after last month’s Putin-Kim summit.
The shipment comes as part of a strengthening military axis between Russia, North Korea and Iran.
Military experts believe that North Korea will likely receive advanced weapons or technology from Russia in exchange for the supplies.
But North Korean military shipments to Russia are not new.
As far back as November 2022, United States condemned Pyongyang for sending millions of artillery shells and rockets to Moscow in a statement by National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby.
US intelligence had said “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 thought they are being sent to countries in the Middle East or North Africa,” Kirby said at the time.
Last month, US Army General Mark Milley, outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said following the Putin-Kim summit that the DPRK would likely provide Soviet-era 152 mm artillery rounds to Russia, but added, “Would it have a huge difference? I’m skeptical of that. I doubt that it would be decisive.”
At the same time, the United States has provided Ukraine with an ammunitions cache seized from Iran that included more than a million 7.62 mm rounds used in machine guns and rifles.
The ammunition was seized by the US Navy in December 2022 from a ship heading to Yemen from Iran. The shipment came in violation of a 2015 UN Security Council resolution banning arms deliveries to Iranian-backed Houthi forces in Yemen.
For months, Iran has been supplying Russia with deadly kamikaze drones for use in its war against Ukraine. Iran has largely ignored UN Security Council resolutions banning such arms shipments to Russia, as well as those to its proxies in Yemen.