The Daily Telegraph

Moscow buys missiles from North Korea as sanctions bite


RUSSIA is turning to North Korea to buy millions of artillery shells and rockets as it runs short of ammunition because of global sanctions restrictin­g its military supply chains, according to newly declassifi­ed US intelligen­ce.

The revelation comes on the heels of another disclosure that the Russian military has begun receiving Iranian-made drones, some of which are said to have mechanical flaws.

US government officials say Moscow’s new reliance on pariah regimes such as North Korea and Iran to boost its campaign in Ukraine is evidence that sanctions and export controls imposed by Washington and Europe are affecting its ability to resupply its troops.

“Things are not going well on that front,” Patrick Ryder, the Pentagon press secretary, said yesterday, confirming the reports that Russia has approached Pyongyang.

“The Kremlin should be alarmed that it has to buy anything at all from North Korea,” Mason Clark, who leads the Russia team at the Institute for the Study of War, told The New York Times.

The declassifi­ed file provided little informatio­n about the exact weaponry, timing or size of the equipment being sold by North Korea to Russia, nor could it be independen­tly verified.

But weapons analysts were sceptical about the durability of the shells produced by Pyongyang, and how they would fare in Russia’s artillery systems.

A US official said that Moscow was expected to buy additional North Korean equipment beyond short-range rockets and artillery shells.

In another sign of warming ties, Russia’s ambassador to North Korea recently said workers from the country could be sent to the Donbas to help rebuild its war-shattered cities.

Both Iran and North Korea are heavily sanctioned by the internatio­nal community over their nuclear weapons programmes.

A deal to buy weaponry from North Korea would be a violation of United Nations resolution­s aimed at curbing weapons proliferat­ion from Pyongyang.

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