WASHINGTON — With aid flowing into Ukraine from the West, and its military increasingly strained by the war, now entering its ninth month, Russia is turning to fellow pariahs from the international community for arms shipments.
Last month’s attacks by Russia on Kyiv and other Ukrainian targets It was conducted by Shahed-136 drones sent by Iranin violation of United Nations sanctions.
(Moscow and Tehran denied the origins of the drones, but Western observers were not convinced.)
Now, intelligence indicates that Russia is also receiving aid from North Korea, another country under heavy sanctions and operating outside the bounds of international standards. North Korea is “covertly supplying Russia’s war in Ukraine with a large number of artillery shells, while concealing the true destination of arms shipments by trying to make it appear that they are going to countries in the Middle East and North Africa.” Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters at a news briefing Wednesday morning.
He did not specify which countries acted as “stopping sites” for North Korean shipments, although Iran and Syria would be clear candidates. Kirby also declined to reveal how the United States obtained intelligence about the shipments or whether efforts would be made to intercept future deliveries.
“Obviously we will be consulting with allies and partners, particularly at the United Nations, on additional accountability measures,” Kirby told reporters. In October, the United Nations In rare cases, they voted almost unanimously To condemn Russia’s illegal annexation of four Ukrainian regions. Both North Korea and Syria voted against the measure.
When Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an invasion of Ukraine in February, he predicted a quick victory culminating in regime change in Kyiv. Instead, he now finds himself in a brutal ground war that Ukraine is winning Through the innovative use of advanced Western weapons.
Russia has suffered amazing losses as a result Probably up to 70,000 soldiers Having been killed since the start of the conflict. Equipment losses were also staggering, with 1,183 tanks and 1,304 infantry fighting vehicles Destroyed since the beginning of the war.
With the Russian economy crippled hard by sanctions, it has asked for help from rogue regimes such as those in Tehran and Pyongyang.
The Pentagon believes that, in addition to drones, Iran could prepare to send guided missiles to Russia. “We have concerns that Russia may also seek to obtain additional advanced munition capabilities from Iran — for example, surface-to-surface missiles — for use in Ukraine,” Pentagon spokesman Pat Ryder said earlier this week.
It is believed that Iran sent operatives of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to Crimea last month Help train the Russians In the use of their new aircraft watched -136 unmanned aerial vehicle.
North Korea and Russia I agreed to sell ammunition several weeks ago; It is only now that this sale appears to have finally taken place.
“We don’t think this will change the course of the war,” Kirby said of the shipment, though he said the number of shells was “not insignificant.”
In addition to North Korea and Iran, Belarus is one of the few countries The world is ready to help Russia invade Ukraine: its autocratic president, Alexander Lukashenko, is a close ally of Putin.
China has notably refrained from efforts to punish or isolate Russia and its two neighboring superpowers Maintained a strong business relationship. Although China and Russia also have Close military relationsBeijing Show so little interest In helping Putin on the battlefield.
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