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Think tank: Increased rail traffic at North Korean-Russian border suggests military transfers

by Martin Fornusek October 8, 2023 9:11 PM 2 min read
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) shakes hand with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (L) ahead of the their visit to the Russian spaceport Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia's Amur Oblast on Sept. 13, 2023. (Kremlin Press Office / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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Increased rail traffic at the North Korean-Russian border likely backs reports of arms transfers between the two countries, the U.S.-based think tank Beyond Parallel said on Oct. 6.

Satellite imagery of North Korea's Tumangang Rail Facility at Russia's border captured on Oct. 5 revealed an unprecedented number of freight railcars, totaling up to 73, as well as a large number of shipping containers and equipment, the report said.

Since this footage coincided with media reports on the same day on North Korean artillery deliveries to Russia, the analysts alleged that shipments may contain ammunition or weapons.

However, the content of the cargo cannot be safely established because the boxcars were covered, the think tank noted.

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North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and Russian President Vladimir Putin met in Russia's Amur Oblast in September, reportedly to discuss Moscow's support for Pyongyang's space and missile technology programs.

According to Washington, the talks also addressed North Korean military aid to bolster Russia's war against Ukraine.

Beyond Parallel noted that the number of boxcars at the Tumangang Rail Facility began to steadily increase five days after the summit of the two leaders.

The think tank also added that the construction of a new warehouse facility near the Tumangang facility and other activities suggest North Korea's intent to expand the capacity of this border crossing.

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