N Korea has sent 6,700 containers of munitions to Russia, says South Korea

Both countries have denied it even as they pledged to strengthen military cooperation

By REUTERS
February 28, 2024
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Vladivostok, Russia, in April 2019. — AFP

SEOUL: North Korea has shipped about 6,700 containers carrying millions of munitions to Russia since July to support its war against Ukraine, in a sign of ongoing arms transfers, South Korean media reported on Tuesday, citing the defence minister.

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At a briefing on Monday for local media, Minister Shin Won-sik said the containers might carry more than 3 million 152 mm artillery shells, or 500,000 122 mm rounds.

“It could possibly be a mix of the two, and you can say that at least several million shells have been sent,” Shin said, according to the Yonhap news agency.

Hundreds of North Korean munitions factories are running at around 30 percent of their capacity due to a lack of raw materials and electricity, but those producing artillery shells for Russia were operating “at full swing,” he added, without elaborating on the source of the information.

Seoul and Washington have accused Pyongyang and Moscow of trading arms and condemned the North for supplying weapons to Russia for use against Ukraine. Both countries have denied it even as they pledged to strengthen military cooperation.

The US State Department, in a fact sheet, opens new tab released on Friday, said that North Korea has delivered more than 10,000 containers of munitions or related materials to Russia since September.

An official at Seoul’s defence ministry said it could not confirm the numbers, but quoted Shin as saying that Russia has sent nearly 30 percent more containers since July to North Korea than the has North shipped.

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