The Russian Ministry of Defense is reportedly in the process of buying millions of rockets and artillery shells from North Korea to support its continued war on Ukraine, according to new U.S. intelligence.
A U.S. official said Monday that Russia looking to the isolated state of North Korea shows that the Russian military “continues to suffer from severe supply shortages in Ukraine, due in part to export controls and sanctions.”
U.S. intelligence officials said Russia may later try to purchase more military equipment from North Korea.
This comes after the Biden administration announced that the Russian military received Iranian drones in August for its invasion of Ukraine. But last week, the White House said Russia has endured technical problems with the Iranian-manufactured drones.
Russia had picked up Mohajer-6 and Shahed-series unmanned aerial vehicles last month.
North Korea has looked to increase Russian relations as many European and Western nations have distanced themselves from Moscow. The North has placed the blame on the U.S. for the war in Ukraine and claimed the West’s “hegemonic policy” has justified Russia’s military action in Ukraine, saying it is protecting itself.
Russia and Syria were joined by North Korea in July as the only countries to recognize the independence of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
The North supplying arms to Russia would violate U.N. resolutions banning it from exporting or importing weapons through other countries.
As North Korea is planning to export military equipment to Russia, the Biden administration has become increasingly concerned about the North and its pursuit of nuclear weapons.
The country has tested more than 30 ballistic missiles so far this year, including its first launch of intercontinental ballistic missiles since 2017. This, as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attempts to ramp up his nuclear arsenal despite U.S.-led pressure and sanctions.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.