Local residents stand among the rubble of an apartment after a rocket attack on it in Kharkiv, Ukraine. – Copyright AFP Rizwan Tabassum
Russia is buying large amounts of munitions from North Korea to replenish stocks depleted by months of heavy fighting in Ukraine, a US official said Tuesday.
Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, apparently expecting to seize control of the country within weeks.
But Ukraine stopped the offensive with the help of weapons and ammunition from the United States and other NATO and European allies.
“The Russian Ministry of Defense is purchasing millions of rockets and artillery shells from North Korea for use on the battlefield in Ukraine,” a US official said in a statement.
“This purchase indicates that the Russian military continues to suffer from severe supply shortages in Ukraine, due in part to export controls and sanctions,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Both sides in the war used up huge amounts of artillery ammunition and lost large amounts of armor in the grinding battles.
But Western sanctions have made it harder for Moscow to acquire replacement components, including computer chips.
Under such pressure, a US official said: “We expect Russia may try to purchase additional North Korean military equipment in the future.”