Ukrainian forces are using North Korean-made rockets against Russian forces, FT reported.
It’s unclear how Ukrainian soldiers got the weapons, but one said they were “very unreliable.”
North Korea is an ally of Russia and has sold them weapons, according to US officials.
While North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has supported Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war effort, weapons produced in his country have apparently been turned against Russian forces.
The Financial Times reported Friday that Ukraine has been launching unpredictable, North Korean-made rockets at Russian troops. Ukrainian soldiers manning multiple-launch rocket systems near Bakhmut showed the weapons to the outlet.
A Ukrainian artillery commander told FT his troops don’t like using the weapons, which were made in the 1980s and ’90s, because they can often misfire or fail to explode. One soldier said, “They are very unreliable and do crazy things sometimes.”
The use of North Korean weapons was striking given that the country is an ally of Russia. Putin on Thursday thanked North Korea for its “firm support” for the war in Ukraine. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu also visited Pyongyang this week to meet with Kim while the country celebrated the 70th anniversary of the end of the Korean War.
Last year, US intelligence officials said Pyongyang was selling millions of artillery shells and rockets to Russia after sanctions cut the Kremlin off from its typical military supply lines. And in March, the White House said it had evidence that North Korea was again providing Russia with weapons, this time in exchange for food.
“As part of this proposed deal, Russia would receive over two dozen kinds of weapons and munitions from Pyongyang,” John Kirby, spokesperson for the White House National Security Council, said at the time.
Ukrainian soldiers told FT a “friendly” country “seized” the North Korean rockets from a ship, but did not give further details. A Ukrainian defense official said the weapons may have been taken directly from Russian troops.
“We capture their tanks, we capture their equipment and it is very possible that this is also the result of the Ukrainian army successfully conducting a military operation,” Yuriy Sak, adviser to Ukraine’s defense minister, told FT, adding: “Russia has been shopping around for different types of munitions in all kinds of tyrannies, including North Korea and Iran.”
In addition to North Korea, Western officials have said Russia has received weapons from Iran. Politico reported this week that China has also been sending military gear to Russia, including drones and protective gear, relying on a loophole to get around Western sanctions.
Ukraine has also been relying on weapons from several different countries in the war, including Soviet-era weapons and arms provided by the West, including the US, United Kingdom, Germany, and Spain.
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