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Putin is Desperate: Russia Turns to North Korea for Bullets to Fight Ukraine

The Russian military and defense industry are having trouble keeping pace with the fighting in Ukraine.

2S19 Msta S of the Ukrainian Army. Image Credit: Creative Commons/Ukraine Military.
2S19 Msta S of the Ukrainian Army.

The Russian military and defense industry are having trouble keeping pace with the fighting in Ukraine.

As a result, Moscow is having to turn to a pariah state for support. 

According to the latest Western intelligence estimates, the Russian military is now storing North Korean ammunition to be used on the ground in Ukraine. 

North Korean Ammo for the Russian Military 

According to the latest estimate of the British Military Intelligence, the Russian military “is almost certain” in possession of North Korean ammunition to support its “special military operation” in Ukraine.

The Kremlin has officially rejected news reports that Pyongyang is feeding munitions to the Russian military. And for a good reason. An admission that the Russian forces are having to use ammo from a pariah state to sustain their operations in Ukraine would be a clear indication that the Russian defense industry can’t cope with the pace of the fighting on the ground in Ukraine.

“If North Korea sustains the recent scale and pace of military-related shipments (more than 1,000 containers over the last several weeks), it will be on course to become one of Russia’s most significant foreign arms suppliers, alongside Iran and Belarus,” the British Military Intelligence assessed.

“It is currently unclear what Russia has agreed to provide North Korea in return. It is unlikely the full package has been finalised; it was highly likely one of the primary discussion topics during recent senior level Russian visits to North Korea,” the British Military Intelligence stated.

As a pariah state, North Korea has nothing to lose by selling weapons to Russia.

“It will likely include a mixture of financial compensation, other economic support, the provision of military technology, and cooperation on other high technology areas, such as space,” the British Military Intelligence added.

Russian Casualties in Ukraine 

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian military continues to inflict heavy losses on the invading Russian forces.

For another day, the Russian forces took heavy casualties. On day 610 of the Kremlin’s “special military operation” in Ukraine, the Russian military and pro-Russian separatist forces lost approximately 800 men killed, wounded, or captured. In addition, Moscow lost dozens of heavy weapon systems such as main battle tanks, armored personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles, tactical trucks, artillery pieces, multiple launch rocket systems, and tactical drones. 

The last couple of weeks have been particularly deadly for the Russian forces. In the span of about 15 days, the Russian forces have lost approximately 13,000 men and over 1,400 heavy weapon systems. 

Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Thursday, Ukrainian forces have killed and wounded approximately 297,120 Russian troops, destroyed 324 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 324 attack and transport helicopters, 5,141 tanks, 7,155 artillery pieces, 9,715 armored personnel carriers, and infantry fighting vehicles, 834 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 21 warships, submarines, boats, and cutters, 9,507 vehicles, and fuel tanks, 556 anti-aircraft batteries, 5,389 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 1,010 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 1,538 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.   

A 19FortyFive Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations and a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ). He holds a BA from the Johns Hopkins University, an MA from the Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), and is pursuing a J.D. at Boston College Law School. His work has been featured in Business InsiderSandboxx, and SOFREP.

1945’s Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist with specialized expertise in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.