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Guardian: UK gives UN photos of North Korean shipments to Russia

by Abbey Fenbert January 22, 2024 7:35 AM 2 min read
Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un visit the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Amur Oblast on Sept. 13, 2023. (Vladimir Smirnov / POOL / AFP via Getty Images)
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The U.K. has given a panel of UN experts satellite photographs of North Korean cargo shipments to Russia as evidence in an investigation into illegal arms trading, the Guardian reported on Jan. 22.

North Korea has allegedly supplied Russia with significant military equipment, including ballistic missiles, since leaders Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin met in Russia's far-eastern Amur Oblast in September 2023.  

The Guardian viewed an unpublished report from the U.K. Defense Ministry that includes images of Russian ships loading cargo at North Korea's Najin port. The three ships, the Maia, Angara, and Maria, then sailed to Russian ports in the far east. The photos were taken between September and December.

The U.K. Defense Ministry said it could not identify the contents of the containers.

The three ships have all been sanctioned by the United States government for their ties to the Russian Defense Ministry.

The report was provided to a panel of UN experts focusing on North Korean weapons proliferation. The panel is expected to publish a final report on arms shipments between North Korea and Russia  next month.

“Russia’s use of North Korean weapons in Ukraine is a violation of multiple UN security council resolutions,” a UN diplomat said.

“It undermines international efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and exposes just how desperate Russia has become in its failed invasion. This and other evidence submitted to the UN sanctions committee should trigger a full investigation into Russia and DPRK’s [North Korea’s] flagrant breaking of international sanctions.”

United Nations delegates condemned Russia's use of North Korean weapons in Ukraine at a Security Council meeting on Jan. 10, following reports that Russian forces fired ballistic missiles into Ukraine.

Ukrainian military intelligence (HUR) chief Kyrylo Budanov said on Jan. 21 that North Korea is now Russia's largest arms supplier.

White House: Military cooperation between Russia, North Korea has potential to ‘drastically’ change security threat
“What we’re seeing between Russia and North Korea is an unprecedented level of cooperation in the military sphere,” said Pranay Vaddi, the White House’s senior director for arms control.
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