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U.S. accuses North Korea of supplying Russia with munitions

U.S. security officials accused Kim Jung-Un (L) and North Korea of secretly supplying artillery to Vladimir Putin and Russia for the war in Ukraine. File photo by KCNA
1 of 3 | U.S. security officials accused Kim Jung-Un (L) and North Korea of secretly supplying artillery to Vladimir Putin and Russia for the war in Ukraine. File photo by KCNA | License Photo

Nov. 2 (UPI) -- The United States alleged Wednesday that North Korea has secretly been supplying Russia with munitions for the war in Ukraine.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said North Korea provided Russia with "significant amounts" of artillery shells, large-caliber ammunition for tanks, warships, mortars and other heavy weaponry.

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"Our information indicates that the DPRK is covertly supplying Russia's war in Ukraine with a significant number of artillery shells, while obfuscating the real destination of the arms shipments by trying to make it appear as though they are being sent to countries in the Middle East or North Africa," Kirby said in a statement.

In September, North Korea issued a denial of accusations that it was selling rockets and artillery to Russia. The United States and Britain levied the accusations after intelligence from both countries indicated as much. North Korea responded, telling the United States "to keep its mouth shut."

"We have never exported weapons or ammunition to Russia before and we will not plan to export them," an unnamed defense official said in a statement carried by Korean Central News Agency.

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Iran is also accused of supplying Russia with drones after an investigation by the United Nations Security Council. Iran was sanctioned by the European Council and the British government after Russia used Iranian Shahed-136 drones to strike at Ukrainian infrastructure in October.

Russia's relationship with Iran and North Korea is cause for concern, but it is also an indicator that Russia's own arsenal is waning.

Russia instituted a draft to boost its manpower on the ground in the face of unrelenting resistance from Ukraine. The draft was met with resistance from eligible men in the invading country.

In August, the U.S. Department of Defense said Russia's goal was to increase its army by 137,000 soldiers after losing 60,000 to 80,000 to that point. The department also said it does not expect Russia to meet its goal.

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Firefighters conduct work while smoke rises from a building after it was attacked by Russian drones in Kyiv, Ukraine, on October 17, 2022. Photo by Vladyslav Musiienko/UPI | License Photo

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