‘Putin is begging North Korea for weapons’

NEW DELHI: British defense minister Grant Shapps has said that Russian President Vladimir Putin is urgently seeking assistance from his remaining allies for weapons to support Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. This follows a report from White House National Security spokesman John Kirby, who disclosed that Russia has recently employed short-range ballistic missiles obtained from North Korea in several airstrikes across Ukraine. Kirby highlighted this as a significant and worrisome escalation in the conflict, noting the strained relations between Moscow and Washington,DC.
Shapps, in a post on X (formerly Twitter), referred to a report on Kirby’s briefing, saying, “the world has turned its back on Russia, forcing Putin into the humiliation of going cap in hand to North Korea to keep his illegal invasion going.” He emphasized that Russia’s actions have violated multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions and endangered the security of another world region. Shapps vowed that, along with partners, they would ensure North Korea faces severe consequences for aiding Russia.
The intensification of Russia’s aerial attacks on Ukraine, including the use of North Korean-provided weapons, was noted by Kirby. US intelligence indicated that at least one North Korean ballistic missile was fired by Russia on December 30, landing in an open field in the Zaporizhzhia region. Additionally, multiple North Korean missiles were used in Russia’s overnight attack on Kyiv.
Kirby also mentioned that Russia is nearing a deal with Iran for more short-range missiles, a development that the US finds concerning.
Mykhailo Podolyak, a high-ranking official from Kyiv, also accused Russia of using missiles obtained from North Korea in its conflict against Ukraine. “There is no longer any disguise … as part of its outright genocidal war, the Russian Federation for the first time struck at the territory of Ukraine with missiles received from … North Korea,” Podolyak said.
Podolyak, however, did not present any evidence to substantiate his claim about the missiles’ North Korean origin.
Highlighting the severity of the situation, Podolyak further criticized Russia’s actions, saying, “(Russia) is attacking Ukrainians with missiles received from a state where citizens are tortured in concentration camps for having an unregistered radio, talking to a tourist, watching TV shows.”
‘Latest North Korean missiles’
According to images released by the US, missiles supplied to Russia are identified as North Korean Hwasong-11s. This category of short-range ballistic missile is noted by weapons experts for its reliable precision in striking targets, a Bloomberg report said.
Given that these missiles are among the most recent additions to Kim Jong Un’s collection, it is presumed that he is receiving substantial compensation from Russian President Vladimir Putin for them. The estimated cost of each missile is around $5 million, based on information gathered by the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses and disclosed in 2022 by South Korean legislator Shin Won-sik.
The exchange of these missiles, which have a range between 400-800 kilometers (250-500 miles), expands the arsenal available to the Kremlin for its operations against Ukraine, as the conflict initiated by Putin in early 2022 continues into its third year. Concurrently, it is believed that Moscow is compensating Kim with weapons, financial aid, and goods, thereby supporting his economy which has been impacted by international sanctions, the Bloomberg report added.
Since the onset of the Ukraine conflict in February 2022, Western nations have strongly supported Kyiv, imposing sanctions on Russia and providing substantial military aid to Ukraine. In response, Russia has sought military alliances with countries like Iran and North Korea. In 2023, Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu pledged to strengthen military ties with Pyongyang, and Putin’s meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un prompted a warning from US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller against supplying weapons to Moscow.
(With inputs from agencies) Source

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