The US says Russia is trying to buy weapons from North Korea

The US says Russia is trying to buy weapons from North Korea
FILE PHOTO: State flags of Russia and North Korea fly in a street near a church during the visit of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un to Vladivostok, Russia April 25, 2019. REUTERS/Yuri Maltsev

Could Russia’s strength in Ukraine be waning? According to US intelligence, Russia isn’t having the easiest time recruiting soldiers. And with a major series of Western economic sanctions against Russia, the country’s supply lines are finally seeing effects. Basically, Western sanctions have limited Russia’s ability to buy weapons and equipment for making weapons, which is kind of a crucial part of any military strategy. While Russia initially wanted China to help supply it with this stuff, Beijing doesn’t seem to want to get involved in all that. Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe has stated that China has not provided any weapons or similar material to Russia since it invaded Ukraine.

This week, reports have surfaced of Russia trying to get its hands on weapons and ammunition from North Korea and Iran. The Russian ambassador to the UN has already denied these claims, calling the report “fake," but the White House says otherwise. So, what weapons could DPRK hand over? Well, the country still has stockpiles of Soviet-era artillery shells and rockets. Any arms sales to Russia by North Korea would be a violation of UN resolutions banning the country from exporting or importing weapons.

Key comments:

“It does demonstrate and is indicative of the situation that Russia finds itself in, in terms of its logistics and sustainment capabilities as it relates to Ukraine," Pentagon spokesman Brigadier General Pat Ryder told reporters on Tuesday. “We assess that things are not going well on that front for Russia."

“It is just another indication of how desperate" President Vladimir Putin has become and “an indication of how much his defense-industrial establishment is suffering as a result," said US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby.

“The North Koreans do have tremendous stockpiles of relatively primitive artillery and rocket systems some of which are of a similar type and caliber used by the Russians to shell Ukrainian cities and towns," said Hugh Griffiths, a former coordinator for a UN panel that monitors sanctions on North Korea.

“I haven’t heard it, and I think that’s another fake being circulated around," Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, responded.