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Washington Post: New trade data reveals increased North Korean munitions transfers to Russia

by The Kyiv Independent news desk June 23, 2024 7:49 PM 2 min read
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (L) and North Korea's leader Kim Jong-Un (R) attend a welcoming ceremony at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang on June 19, 2024. (Gavril Grigorov/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)
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New internal Russian trade data obtained by the Washington Post shows that Russia may have received 1.6 million artillery shells from North Korea over the course of six months.

The data shows that Russia moved 74,000 metric tons of explosives from two ports located in the country's far east to other parts of the country, primarily near its border with Ukraine, according an article published June 22 by the Washington Post. The data spans from August 2023 to January 2024, and the weight corresponds to 1.6 million shells of the type currently used by Russia in its war against Ukraine.

The information was provided to the Washington Post by the global security nonprofit Center for Advanced Defense Studies (C4ADS). Analysis of Russian shipment movements during this period suggests the likely origin of the shipments is North Korea.

North Korea and Russia have tightened their relationship throughout the course of the war. On June 19, the two signed a mutual defense agreement during the first in decades visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to North Korea.

The pact declared in part, "In case any one of the two sides is put in a state of war by an armed invasion from an individual state or several states, the other side shall provide military and other assistance with all means in its possession without delay."

The agreement also covers trade, investment, political and security cooperation.

In response to the announcement, South Korea said it would reconsider supplying weapons to Ukraine.  

North Korea has been shaping up to be Russia's leading weapons supplier for a while as Russia faces reduced military stocks and production capacity simultaneously hampered by Western sanctions.

‘Rather desperate’ – 5 key takeaways from Putin’s North Korea visit
Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un cemented their growing relationship on June 19, with a parade, a pact and a carefully stage-managed drive in a brand new limousine in Pyongyang. Kim described Putin as the “dearest friend of the Korean people” and said his count…

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