WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Russia is buying potentially millions of artillery shells and rockets from communist North Korea to replenish stocks depleted by the invasion of Ukraine, the White House said yesterday (6 September) .
Local residents stand amid the rubble of an apartment after it was hit by a Russian missile strike in Kharkiv, Ukraine. Photo: AFP
“Our feeling is that you could literally include millions of rounds, rockets and artillery shells,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters.
Kirby, citing declassified US intelligence, stressed that the purchases were not yet complete.
“We have no indication that the purchase has actually taken place at this time, so it’s hard to say what it will look like,” he said, adding that there is “certainly no indication that this equipment, these weapons, are used in Ukraine.
Massive purchases of artillery munitions from the deeply isolated and repressive North Korean government, along with a deal to buy military drones from Iran, show the dire straits Russia faces after months, says Kirby. Western economic and technological sanctions aimed at paralyzing its war. machine.
“It’s just another indication of how desperate President Vladimir Putin is” and “an indication of how much his defense industrial establishment is suffering,” Kirby said. “The fact that they have to buy artillery rounds from North Korea and drones from Iran shows you how effective it has been.”
Kirby said there was no indication that China was cooperating with North Korea, saying “we continue to see no indication that China is violating sanctions against Russia or in fact taking overt steps to assist Russia militarily”.
Earlier, a US official said the ammunition was “intended for battlefield use in Ukraine”.
“This purchase indicates that the Russian military continues to suffer from severe supply shortages in Ukraine, in part due to export controls and sanctions,” the statement said.
Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 with the apparent hope of taking control of the country within weeks.
But Ukraine halted the advance with the help of arms and ammunition from the United States and other NATO and European allies.
Both sides in the war used huge amounts of artillery ammunition and lost large amounts of armor in the fierce battle.
Acquiring longer-range missiles from the United States and its allies has enabled Ukraine to target dozens of Russian ammunition dumps behind the front lines.
And Western sanctions have made it harder for Moscow to acquire components to make spares, including computer chips.