White House: North Korea covertly shipping artillery to Russia
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the U.S. believes North Korea is “trying to make it appear as though they’re being sent to countries in the Middle East or North Africa.” He declined to provide a specific estimate on the quantity of ammunition being sent to bolster the Russian effort.
Kirby said North Korea “is covertly supplying” the ammunition to Russia, but that, “we’re still monitoring this to determine whether the shipments are actually received.”
Kirby insisted that the North Korean shipments are “not going to change the course of the war,” citing Western efforts to resupply the Ukrainian military.
The White House would not specify the mode of transportation or whether the U.S. or other nations would attempt to interdict the shipments to Russia.
The White House revealed the new intelligence nearly two months after first alleging that U.S. intelligence officials had determined Russian Ministry of Defense was in the process of purchasing millions of rockets and artillery shells from North Korea for its ongoing fight in Ukraine.
Even as the administration revealed information about the covert North Korean artillery shell shipments, the White House also ought to downplay its significance.
“We don’t believe that they are in such a quantity that they would change the direction of this war or tangibly change the momentum either in the East or in the South” where some of the heaviest fighting in Ukraine is taking place, Kirby said.
The finding comes after after the Biden administration in August said that the Russian military in August took delivery of hundreds Iranian-manufactured drones for use on the battlefield in Ukraine. The Biden administration says that Iran has also sent personnel to Russian-controlled Crimea to provide technical support to the Russians on operation of the drones. Iranian officials have denied they have provided drones or other support to Russia.
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