Russian state-controlled mercenary Wagner Group has received a shipment of arms from North Korea to assist its forces in their war in Ukraine, according to Reuters, citing a senior U.S. official.
The U.S. intelligence assessment, which will be released publicly on Dec. 22, is that the arms delivered by North Korea will not significantly alter the dynamics of the war. The unnamed official nonetheless expressed concern that North Korea may be planning to provide more military equipment to Wagner in the future.
“Last month, North Korea delivered infantry rockets and missiles into Russia for use by Wagner,” the unnamed official said. He confirmed that North Korea completed an initial arms delivery to Wagner and that it paid for the equipment.
The U.S. views arms delivery by North Korea as a violation of UN Security Council resolutions and plans to raise the issue with the UN Security Council, according to the article.
The Wagner Group is a private military formation run by Evgenii Prigozhin, close confidant of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. A shadowy organization composed of contractors who are paid to fight wars outside of the official military, Wagner is infamous for its brutal tactics and has been linked to evidence of war crimes in conflicts around the globe.
Russia deployed the mercenaries to eastern Ukraine to help make up for its own military’s heavy losses, the U.K. Defense Ministry reported in late March.
On Dec. 20, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba urged the world to recognize Wagner as “a terrorist organization.” Ukraine suffers the most from its “criminal activities,” but it is “a significant security threat” in Africa and across the globe, he said.
“We must immediately recognize them as a terrorist organization,” Kuleba said.