Declassified Intelligence: Russia Requested Ammunition From North Korea
According to a newly declassified U.S. Intelligence, Russia could be purchasing millions of rockets and artillery shells from North Korea. Pentagon Press Sec. Brigadier General Pat Ryder stated that there are indications that Russia has requested ammunition from North Korea.
QUESTION: Sol have a question on the latest intelligence suggesting that Russia's hoping to buy some millions of dollars of rockets and artillery from North Korea. Has the Pentagon seen any indication that is ongoing already, or preparation for that? And then just a quick one on the secretary's trip this week. Do you expect that there will be more aid announced, or any other changes in U.S. troop posture in Europe as part of this coming meeting?
GENERAL RYDER: Yeah, thanks for the question, Lita. So let me take your second question first and say that I don't have any announcements to make right now. Certainly, the Secretary looks forward to the conversations as part of the Ukraine Contact Group, and we'll be sure to keep you updated on that front in terms of any outcomes.
As far as your first question, yes, we do have indications that Russia has approached North Korea to request ammunition. I'm not able to provide any more detail than that at this point in time, but it does demonstrate and is indicative of the situation that Russia finds itself in terms of its logistics and sustainment capabilities as it relates to Ukraine. Certainly, as has been said, we assess that things are not going well on that front for Russia, so the fact that they're reaching out to North Korea is a sign that they're having some challenges on the sustainment front. Thank you.
QUESTION: Just a quick follow then. You talked about they're in a process getting these weapons. Does that mean they have, like, sent the money over? They're waiting for the shipment? Have they not sent money over? What part of the process are they in?
GENERAL RYDER: Yeah, so the information we have is that they have approached North Korea, but beyond that, I don't have any further details to provide.
QUESTION: And just to follow up, why declassify this information now? Is it because you received it now, or because the process of declassification took awhile? I guess why now?
GENERAL RYDER: So what I would say, Idris, is that as this campaign has unfolded, we've tried to make an effort to ensure that the public and the international community understand the situation that Russia finds itself as they, again, continue to wage their campaign in Ukraine. This information is relevant to the fight in the sense that, again, it's indicative of the situation that Russia finds itself in and shows the fact that they are trying to reach out to international actors like Iran and North Korea that don't have the best record when it comes to international stability.
QUESTION: And then one last question real quick. Is this the first time the Russians have reached out to the North Koreans for these types of weapons?
GENERAL RYDER: I don't have an answer to that. Okay, Lara?
White House: Further Evidence Russia Is Desparate, And Supplies Are Running Low
In another statement, U.S. State Department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel said that Russia "is in the process of purchasing millions of rockets and artillery shells from North Korea for use in Ukraine".
The White House has indicated that this is further evidence that Russia is desperate, and that its ammunition supplies are running low as its "special operation" on Ukraine passes its six and a half month mark.
Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, Vassily Nebenzia dismissed the reports, however, saying that it was "fake news".
"I haven't heard it and I think that's another fake being circulated around," he stated when asked about the reports of Russia requesting to purchase rockets and artillery shells from North Korea.
White House national security spokesman John Kirby however, said that there are "no indications that that purchase has been completed and certainly no indications that those weapons are being used inside of Ukraine."
Kirby said that it was a "potential purchase", during a briefing, and added that "Our sense is it could include literally millions of rounds, rockets and artillery shells from North Korea. That's what our information gives us - it could be on that scale."
"We don't have any indication that the purchase has actually occurred yet so it's difficult to say what it's actually going to end up looking like," he said.
Kirby added that, "just another indication of how desperate Putin's becoming ... It's an indication of how much his defense industrial establishment is suffering as a result of this war and the degree of desperation."
According to Reuters, officials have said that sanctions by the West are making it very difficult for Russia to replace vehicles and weaponry that they have lost in battle with Ukrainian forces.
Reuters have also cited experts who say that North Korea is looking to use ammunition sales to counter international sanctions.
Vedant Patel said that if Russia were to purchase weaponry from North Korea, it would violate United Nations sanctions that prohibit any U.N. member states from obtaining weaponry from North Korea.
QUESTION: I mean, if there are actual shipments, couldn't there - couldn't they be interdicted at sea because it would be violating UN resolutions? Is that something you guys are working on, bringing up at the UN?
MR PATEL: I'm not going to preview anything from here, but to your point, yes, this would violate UN sanctions on the DPRK by doing this. Multiple UN Security Council resolutions prohibit UN member-states from procuring from the DPRK all arms and related material. The Security Council imposed this prohibition over a decade ago in response to the DPRK's weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile program. While all UN sanctions are a serious violation, I think particularly concerning here is that a permanent member of the Security Council is floating these measures.
Jack Watling, a senior research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) spoke to NK News and said, "It is fairly well established that Russians have been going around since Feb. 2022, buying up stocks of 152mm and 122mm in any way they can. And that includes North Korea".
Waitling States It's Well Known In Intelligence Circles Russia Procures Arms From North Korea
NK cited Waitling as saying that it is well known in intelligence circles that Russia is procuring arms from North Korea, but did not cite the source for the information, which NK says "is not in the public domain".
NK also reported that he indicated that North Korea isn't the only country that Russia is looking to for arms, but are "instead part of a fairly systematic attempt to buy up global supplies," but said that he is "not aware of specific deliveries from North Korea to Russia, according to NK.
"Russia has gone to a large number of countries that they have supplied these munitions to in the past to procure these shells. And North Korea uses many of the same calibers for current and older systems that the Russians have brought back to service." NK cited Waitling as saying.
NK reported that they have spoke to "other experts" who say that they believe North Korea is both able, and willing to deliver arms to Russia, if they wish to purchase from them.
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