Russia used more North Korean missiles to attack Ukraine in the past few days, and U.S. officials believe they are "proving as accurate as Russia's home-built" weapons, the New York Times reported in its Jan. 23 morning briefing.
Moscow and Pyongyang have significantly increased their military ties since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. According to Ukrainian military intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov, North Korea is now Russia's largest arms supplier.
"Though many of the North Korean artillery rounds are proving to be duds," having been manufactured decades ago, "they're giving the Russians something to fire while Ukraine's military rations its own dwindling supply of munitions," the New York Times said.
The effectiveness of North Korean missiles is worrying Western officials, however, as research suggests they have been designed quite recently and are proving to be relatively accurate, the newspaper said.
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.
"So far, fewer than 50 appear to have been transferred to Russia, but there could be far more to come," the New York Times said.
South Korean officials and analysts are concerned that Ukraine is becoming a testing ground for North Korean missiles, allowing Pyongyang to "see how its new missile arsenal, designed for a conflict with South Korea and the U.S., fares against Western-designed air defenses."
South Korea warned on Jan. 11 that its northern neighbor may also sell Russia new types of tactical guided missiles as the two countries strengthen their military cooperation.
North Korea's state news agency, KCNA, reported on Jan. 21 that Russian dictator Vladimir Putin is planning to visit North Korea in the near future.