Russia is buying artillery shells and rockets from North Korea, claims US intelligence

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Moscow is buying millions of artillery shells and rockets from North Korea, according to US intelligence, the New York Times has reported

This came on the heels of reports that the Russian military has also begun using Iranian-made drones.

“The Russian Ministry of Defence is in the process of purchasing millions of rockets and artillery shells from North Korea for use on the battlefield in Ukraine,” an official said by email when asked about the paper’s report.

According to the official, the purchases indicated that the Russian military “continues to suffer from severe supply shortages in Ukraine, due in part to export controls and sanctions”.

“We expect Russia could try to purchase additional North Korean military equipment going forward,” the official, who asked not to be identified by name, said.

The Times quoted US government officials as saying that the purchases showed US-led sanctions had begun to bite, reducing Russia’s ability to sustain its invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow has called a “special military operation”.

The paper’s report on Monday said the recently declassified intelligence provided no details about what was purchased, beyond saying that the items included artillery shells and rockets.

Last month, a US official told Reuters that Russia’s Iranian-made drones had suffered “numerous failures”. The official said Russia most likely planned to acquire hundreds of Mohajer-6 and Shahed-series unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

Officials have said Western sanctions are limiting Russia’s ability to replace vehicles and weapons destroyed in Ukraine.

Ukraine recently launched counter-offensives in several locations, including around Kherson, which Russia occupied early in the invasion. In preparation for those attacks, Ukrainian forces struck Russian supply areas, including those containing artillery and ammunition.