State Department spokesman Ned Price reported that Russia is looking to North Korea to help replenish ballistic missile and artillery stockpiles for its ongoing invasion of Ukraine, which echoes claims previously made by National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby last month.
During a press briefing with reporters on Wednesday, Price stated that “We know that Russia’s brutal assault against Ukraine has forced Russia to extend its relatively scarce quantities of weaponry, including ballistic missiles.”
He added that “So the concern remains that Russia may look to other countries, including Iran, to help replenish its stocks of ballistic missiles, just as we continue to be concerned that Russia continues to look to the DPRK when it comes to other forms of assistance for its illegal war against Ukraine.”
Kirby also stated today that while the United States believes Russia is interested in obtaining North Korean weaponry, there is no “definite indication that that transaction has been consummated.”
On November 2, Kirby accused North Korea of covertly sending a “significant number of artillery shells” to Russia, stating that “our information indicates that the DPRK is covertly supplying Russia’s war in Ukraine with a significant number of artillery shells, while obfuscating the real destination of the arms shipments by trying to make it appear as though they are being sent to countries in the Middle East or North Africa.”
While noting that the quantity being provided was “significant” without providing a specific number, Kirby said that the shipments are not “in such a quantity that they would change the momentum of the war.”
So far there has not been any indication of Russian forces using North Korean missiles or artillery in Ukraine. The United States has not provided any evidence to back these assessments either.
As we have seen in recent months, however, Russia has been using Iranian supplied Shahed-136 loitering munitions, which they call “Geran-2s,” to strike static targets in Ukraine, such as military, government, and power infrastructure. Likewise, there have been no indications of Russian forces using Iranian missiles on the battlefield in Ukraine.