North Korea may sell Russia new types of tactical guided missiles, South Korean Defense Minister Shin Won-sik said in an interview with the Yonhap News Agency published on Jan. 11.
The news came amid reports that Russia is already using North Korean weapons to strike Ukraine.
A few days earlier, the White House confirmed media reports of North Korean missile shipments to Moscow, saying that Russia had already attacked Ukraine with them at least three times — on Dec. 30, Jan. 4, and Jan. 6.
The Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post reported that Moscow had received “several dozen ballistic missiles”, while Ukraine's military intelligence (HUR) says it has no evidence that this had happened.
Shin drew links between North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un's recent visit to munitions factories and possible arms supplies to Russia amid deepening Russia-North Korean military cooperation.
The weapons system, unveiled by North Korean state media during Kim's most recent vist last week, appears to be close-range ballistic missiles capable of carrying tactical nuclear weapons.
Shin added that Pyongyang conducted its first test launch in April 2022, calling the missile “a new type of weapon with an estimated range of 100–180 kilometers.”
"North Korea said it will deploy (close-range ballistic missiles) with front line troops. Given the recent arms trade, (I think) North Korea could sell them to Russia," the South Korean Minister said, hinting at the possible sale of KN-23 short-range ballistic missiles to Russia.
The U.S. and nearly 50 allies published a joint statement on Jan. 9 condemning North Korea's alleged transfer of ballistic missiles to Russia and calling for an immediate end to the supply of weapons.
Along with reports of North Korean missiles being delivered to Russia, there have been reports of Moscow's plans to receive new missiles from Iran, which supplied kamikaze drones used by Russia for regular attacks on Ukraine.
Air Force spokesperson Yurii Ihnat said Ukraine could not confirm these reports.