Russian forces are using low-quality shells sourced from North Korea that are often defective, at times causing damage to the barrels of cannons and mortars and even injuring soldiers, the General Staff of Ukraine's Armed Forces wrote on Dec. 20.
In particular, the General Staff said that this appeared to be happening with Russian troops in the Dnipro Group under the command of Colonel General Mikhail Teplinsky operating in southern Ukraine.
The U.S. confirmed increased weapons and ammunition transfers from North Korea to Russia following a meeting between Russian leader Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in September.
Washington said it's "deeply concerned" that North Korea may receive nuclear- or ballistic missile-related technology in exchange.
South Korean intelligence reports claim that North Korea has delivered more than a million shells to Russia.
The Ukrainian military news site Defense Express wrote on Dec. 9 that Russian troops have been complaining about the condition of North Korean shells, saying that some show evidence of crucial parts being cannibalized, as well as a general emphasis on quantity over quality. As a result, the shells can be less effective or even dangerous due to defects.