Seoul’s intelligence agency says N. Korea has provided over 1 million shells to Russia for war effort

Posted on : 2023-11-02 17:02 KST Modified on : 2023-11-02 17:02 KST
South Korea’s National Intelligence Service said that North Korea had sent around 10 shipments of weapons to Russia
National Intelligence Service Director Kim Kyou-hyun (center) appears before the National Assembly’s Intelligence Committee at the service’s headquarters in Seoul for a parliamentary inspection on Nov. 1. (Yonhap)
National Intelligence Service Director Kim Kyou-hyun (center) appears before the National Assembly’s Intelligence Committee at the service’s headquarters in Seoul for a parliamentary inspection on Nov. 1. (Yonhap)

North Korea has provided roughly ten shipments of various weapons and over 1 million shells to support Russia in its war with Ukraine, Seoul’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) reported on Wednesday.

This was the content of an NIS report provided in a closed-door parliamentary audit at its offices the same day, according to Yoo Sang-bum, the People Power Party’s vice chairperson on the National Assembly Intelligence Committee.

“The National Assembly has determined that since early August, North Korea has sent around ten shipments of shells and various other weapons using Russian ships and transport aircraft to support Russia’s war in Ukraine,” Yoo said.

“Shells sent by ship from the [North Korean] port of Rajin to the Russian ports of Dunay and Vostochny were confirmed to have been transported by train to a magazine near Ukraine, and weapons were also found to have been sent via transport aircraft,” he explained.

He went on to say that the country’s intelligence service “has estimated over 1 million shells have been shipped, which it views as a sufficient quantity for over two months of use in the war between Russia and Ukraine.”

He also reported that “evidence was acquired showing that around the middle of October, North Korea sent a delegation to Russia consisting primarily of multiple rocket launcher experts to provide instruction on how to use the weapons.”

In response, Youn Kun-youn, the Democratic Party’s vice chairperson on the committee, said, “It was reported that [weapons] were taken from Rajin to Russia by North Korean ships, but when asked whether this had actually been confirmed, [the NIS] replied that it ‘could not be realistically confirmed.’”

Youn further quoted the NIS as saying that this supposition was based on the circumstances, with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un having “made an agreement on weapon cooperation shortly of the North Korea-Russia summit” and “contacts that had not normally taken place” being observed at Rajin shortly afterward.

Regarding North Korea’s third military reconnaissance satellite launch, Yoo said the NIS had reported observations of “final preparations being in full swing recently, including engine and launch equipment inspections” after the postponement of the originally announced launch date in October.

“North Korea appears to have received technical advice from Russia, and [the NIS] is predicting the possibility of a higher likelihood of success,” he said.

The NIS further reported that it had coordinated with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation on two freezes of virtual assets seized by North Korea. The freezes reportedly targeted a total of US$3.45 million and took place in February and June of this year.

By Son Hyun-soo, staff reporter

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