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Budanov: North Korea currently Russia's largest arms supplier

by The Kyiv Independent news desk January 21, 2024 4:08 PM 2 min read
Russian dictator Vladimir Putin (R) and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (L) shaking hands during their meeting at the Vostochny Cosmodrome on Sept. 13, 2023. (Vladimir Smirnov/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)
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North Korea is currently Russia's largest arms supplier, Ukrainian military intelligence (HUR) chief Kyrylo Budanov told the Financial Times in an interview published on Jan. 21.

North Korea has transferred "a significant amount" of artillery ammunition to Russia, according to Budanov.

"This allowed Russia to breathe a little,” Budanov said. “Without (North Korea's) help, the situation would have been catastrophic.”

Russia has been struggling to keep up with the production of its weapons and munitions at a rate that matches their usage on the front. As a result, they have been compelled to seek military assistance from countries such as North Korea.

"This has always been considered beneath them, it’s an indignity," Budanov said.

Moscow and Pyongyang have significantly increased their military ties since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

A spokesperson for Ukraine’s military intelligence previously said on Jan. 15. that North Korea has supplied Russia with around one million rounds of ammunition, mainly 122 mm and 152 mm artillery shells.

As reported both by Kyiv and Washington, Russia also used North Korean ballistic missiles against Ukraine for the first time in strikes against Kharkiv on Jan. 2.

North Korea's state news agency, KCNA, also reported on Jan. 21 that Russian dictator Vladimir Putin is planning to visit North Korea in the near future.

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