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Reuters: Half of North Korean missiles fired by Russia blow up in mid-air, Ukraine's top prosecutor says

by Chris York May 7, 2024 6:59 PM 2 min read
Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un in Russia on Sept. 13, 2023. Photo for illustrative purposes. (Vladimir Smirnov / Pool / AFP)
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Around half of the North Korean missiles fired at Ukraine by Russia have malfunctioned and exploded in mid-air, Reuters reported on May 7, citing Ukraine's Prosecutor General's Office.

In March, Ukrainian prosecutors reported that Russia had fired around 50 to attack six Ukrainian oblasts since the beginning of the full-scale invasion.

According to Reuters, Ukrainian prosecutors have examined the debris of 21 and provided the news agency with data on their failure rate.

"About half of the North Korean missiles lost their programmed trajectories and exploded in the air – in such cases, the debris was not recovered," Ukraine's top prosecutor, Andrii Kostin, said.

While the number of missiles Pyongyang has given to Moscow remains a tiny percentage of Russia's overall stockpiles, Ukraine and its allies are concerned about the growing ties between the two countries.

North Korea has been shaping up as Russia's leading weapons supplier, reportedly providing Moscow with extensive military packages, including ballistic missiles and over 3 million artillery shells.

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Debris found after a missile strike on Kharkiv on Jan. 2 came from a North Korean Hwasong-11 series ballistic missile, according to a U.N. sanctions committee report issued on April 29 and viewed by Reuters.

Both Ukrainian and U.S. officials have previously said that Russia has been using North Korean-produced missiles to attack Ukraine.

South Korean Defense Minister Shin Won-sik also said that Russia is likely purchasing more advanced missiles from North Korea that could be used on the battlefield in Ukraine.

According to the U.N. report, inspectors concluded that Russia used missiles procured from North Korea in a strike on Kharkiv that killed at least three people and injured dozens more.

The inspectors said that fragments "recovered from a missile that landed in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on Jan. 2, 2024, derives from a DPRK (North Korean) Hwasong-11 series missile."

Having studied the missile fragments in a field investigation in Kharkiv, the inspectors "found no evidence that the missile was made by Russia."

Russia's purchase of North Korean missiles is a violation of U.N. sanctions.

Reuters: UN says North Korean-made missile struck Kharkiv in January
Both Ukrainian and U.S. officials have previously said that Russia has been using North Korean-produced missiles to attack Ukraine.
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