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North Korea ‘covertly’ providing Russia with artillery shells in Ukraine: US

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MARIUPOL, UKRAINE - A view of a howitzer is on its way to the front in Mariupol, one of the cities with the most intense conflicts, as Russia-Ukraine war continues in Mariupol, Ukraine on October 27, 2022. (Stringer - Anadolu Agency)
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Nov 03, 2022 - 01:24 AM

WASHINGTON (AA) – North Korea is secretly providing Russia with artillery shells in its war against Ukraine, the White House said Wednesday.

National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby said at a webinar that in September, North Korea publicly denied it intended to provide ammunition to Russia.

“Our information indicates that the (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) DPRK is covertly supplying Russia’s war in Ukraine with a significant number of artillery shells,” Kirby told reporters.

He said North Korea made the arms shipments appear as though they are being sent to countries in the Middle East or North Africa.

“It is not an insignificant number of shells, but we don’t believe they are in such a quantity that they would tangibly change the direction of this war,” he said. “We will continue to monitor whether these shipments are received.”

The official also said Russia continues to look to other actors, including North Korea and Iran, to sustain its “aggressive” war in Ukraine, stressing that the course of the war will not change.

“And we’re going to continue to provide Ukraine with the critical security systems that it needs to defend itself,” said Kirby.

Iran has also engaged in the war by providing drones and sending drone trainers to Ukraine’s Crimea region to bolster Moscow.

Turning to North Korea’s ballistic missile launches early Wednesday, Kirby reiterated the US condemnation of the “reckless” launches.

He said North Korea’s launches do not pose a threat to the US homeland or American personnel.

“And we are of course coordinating closely with our allies and partners. As we have said, we remain committed to the defense of Republic of Korea and to Japan,” he said. “And these launches just underscore the need to make sure that we have the appropriate military readiness in around the region.”

North Korea fired six additional missiles Wednesday, bringing the number of missiles of various types fired by Pyongyang in a single day toward the East and Yellow seas to at least 25, as tensions rise amid ongoing joint military exercises between South Korea and the US.

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