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Tuesday Briefing: North Korean Missiles in Ukraine

WorldTuesday Briefing: North Korean Missiles in Ukraine

Russians are beginning to deploy North Korean arms on the battlefield in Ukraine.

Though many of the North Korean artillery rounds are proving to be duds — some appear to have been manufactured decades ago — they’re giving the Russians something to fire while Ukraine’s military rations its own dwindling supply of munitions.

But what has U.S., NATO and European officials worried are the missiles: So far, fewer than 50 appear to have been transferred to Russia, but there could be far more to come. Three barrages of North Korean-made missiles targeted Ukrainian positions around the new year, American officials say, and they believe more were used on the battlefield over the weekend.

An analysis by Conflict Armament Research, an organization that has documented the arms used in Russia’s war in Ukraine, showed that the North Korean missiles were relatively recent in their design. U.S. officials say they’re proving as accurate as Russia’s home-built equipment.

A testing ground: In South Korea, officials and analysts say the Ukraine war is giving the North something it desperately needs: a way to see how its new missile arsenal, designed for a conflict with South Korea and the U.S., fares against Western-designed air defenses.

Supplies: Last summer, Ukraine was firing as many as 7,000 artillery shells a day, compared with 5,000 a day by Russia. Now the Ukrainians are struggling to fire 2,000 rounds daily, while Russia, augmented by the North Korean shells, is reaching about 10,000 a day, analysts said.


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