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Russia Is Taking A Big Risk Purchasing Rockets and Artillery Shells From North Korea

North Korea Ballistic Missile Test
North Korea Ballistic Missile Test. Image Credit: North Korean State Media.

Ever since North Korea became the third country to recognize the independence of two Russia-backed separatist states within Ukraine, speculation has been rife about how the isolationist communist state may deepen its ties to Russia. Following catastrophic flooding, a worse-than-usual food shortage, and an economic crisis triggered by the country’s decision to close its borders completely during the COVID-19 pandemic, North Korea may have finally found a new source of incoming – weapons sales from Russia.

North Korea to Russia’s Rescue? 

According to a senior U.S. defense official, Russia is currently in the process of purchasing millions of rockets and artillery shells from North Korea as its troops face weapons and ammunition shortages in Ukraine. It’s a sign that the West’s sanctions on Russia are working, making it hard – if not impossible – for Russia to manufacture advanced weapons and ammunition.

According to a U.S. official, Russia is actively seeking support from North Korea due to Western sanctions, and that support is already being given. However, few details were offered from the declassified intelligence about the exact kinds of ammunition that North Korea will provide.

“The United States provided few details from the declassified intelligence about the exact weaponry, timing or size of the shipment, and there is no way yet to independently verify the sale,” the New York Times reported on Tuesday.

“A U.S. official said that, beyond short-range rockets and artillery shells, Russia was expected to try to purchase additional North Korean equipment going forward.”

Will North Korea Let Russia Down?

While North Korea may have the resources to build short-range rockets and artillery shells, the communist nation is no better positioned to create advanced weaponry or rockets than Russia is.

North Korea is one of the most heavily sanctioned countries in the world, and while it may be able to provide additional manpower and manufacturing capabilities for Russia, it is ultimately unable to provide the kind of advanced weaponry Russia really needs at this stage in the war.

Even if North Korea is at least capable of fulfilling orders for less advanced equipment, Russia is still taking a risk over the quality of the rockets that could be sent their way. That should be a particularly serious concern for the Kremlin given that Iranian combat drones recently sent to Russia were plagued with faults and problems.

Pentagon spokesman Brigadier General Pat Ryder revealed in late August how Russia received plane loads of unmanned aerial vehicles from Iran in August as part of a plan to import hundreds of drones from Iran. The drones are expected to be used for surveillance and rocket strikes in Ukraine.

According to Ryder, however, U.S. intelligence “indicates that UAVs associated with this transfer have already experienced numerous failures.”

Type 88

North Korean Type 88 Assault Rifle. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

If North Korea and Iran can’t supply the weapons and drones Russia needs, and if the West won’t lift sanctions that block the importation of technology and parts from the West, Russia will face a real struggle in supplying its troops in Ukraine with the equipment they need.

Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.

Written By

Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.

8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Cerberus

    September 6, 2022 at 10:58 pm

    Technologically, Russia is moving backwards on the battlefield while Ukraine is rapidly advancing every day. The even had shut down Russia’s air defenses with US HARM’s integrated onto Ukrainian aircraft.

  2. Enfield

    September 7, 2022 at 5:38 am

    Why try to underestimate Russia’s military capacity?

    More endless articles after articles just nonsense and empty talk. Now they are also turning the deal with North Korea (if there is any truth behind it) to Russia’s disadvantage, of course what else.

    Maybe Russia buys a few million artillery pieces and uses them as well, but no one knows for sure if that will happen.

    At the same time, huge headlines about Ukraine’s counter-offensive as someone expects a miracle that changes everything. As long as we get better weapons with a longer range, then everything will be fine, you see. Sure, we hear and see a fairy tale that will lead to empty hopes.

    Excerpt from a German soldier’s diary on the Eastern Front, Stalingrad in 1942.

    “There are new Russian soldiers coming endlessly. Where are all these soldiers coming from? Every time you look at the horizon there are more Russian soldiers” How is that possible?”

  3. Pitosga

    September 7, 2022 at 9:14 am

    Enfield …
    Don’t forget that those Russian soldiers you are referring to were actually Ukrainians. It was the Ukrainian soldiers (in 1942 Russians) who stood up to the Nazis in Stalingrad.
    Today it is the children and grandchildren of these soldiers who defend their land, their homes and their families, from a lunatic who is in every way like Hitler.

  4. Old Desert Coyote

    September 7, 2022 at 9:32 am

    Where did these troops come from?? Well they were transported to the front by 400,000 US Made jeeps and Trucks, wearing 15 million pairs of U.S. Made boots, flying 14,000 US made Aircraft, using 2.7 Million tons of US produced Fuel, Communicating on US made Radios, eating 4.7 million tons of US Produced food, using 13,000 US Made Armored Vehicles (including tanks). SHALL I GO ON???

  5. Fluffy Dog

    September 7, 2022 at 12:10 pm

    I tried to post a comment on developments in Ukraine, which was neutral politically. It was modded out.
    Maybe we should make a group on mewe.com called “1945 unofficial”.

  6. from Russia with love

    September 7, 2022 at 1:32 pm

    @Pitosga
    I will upset you a little. in 1942, Ukrainian soldiers, these are the OUN UPA and the SS Galicia, were engaged in terror in Ukraine. they were not near Stalingrad. one of the most striking “victories” of Ukrainian soldiers was the Volyn massacre in Poland in 1943. Ukrainian soldiers defeated Poles and Jews. Have you heard anything about the Volyn massacre and the Holocaust?
    Soviet soldiers fought near Stalingrad. those who went under the red flag. Have you seen the red flag in the modern Ukrainian army? of course not. everything Soviet and those soldiers who fought near Stalingrad are the sworn enemies of modern Ukraine.

  7. from Russia with love

    September 7, 2022 at 1:38 pm

    @Old Desert Coyote
    cool!
    but all the Lend-Lease received by the USSR amounted to only 4% of the resources spent by the USSR on the Second World War.
    hmmm..not cool…
    and I would like to ask you a question – how many questions will you have for someone who set fire to your house and then sold you a fire extinguisher? for example, I have a lot of questions about the role of the United States in the development of Hitler’s military industry.

  8. Steven

    September 12, 2022 at 10:20 pm

    lol, Enfield you make me laugh. What an absolute joke. Any month now Russia will “rally”, huh? Really? When, next Christmas?

    Russia is a joke.

    It’s people are a joke.

    It’s military is a joke.

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