(FiveNation.com)- Russia is receiving secret shipments of artillery shells and ammunition from North Korea to aid in the Ukraine war, according to a report from the defense and national security website 19FortyFive. Declassified U.S. intelligence reportedly revealed that the transaction shows Russia continuing to struggle to replace its ammunition, including its artillery systems.
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told CNN that North Korea’s previous claim in September that they had no intention of selling ammunition to Russia was false, adding that the U.S. will continue to monitor the situation.
“Our information indicates that the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) is covertly supplying Russia’s war in Ukraine with a significant number of artillery shells while obfuscating the real destination of the arms shipments by trying to make it appear as though they are being sent to countries in the Middle East or North Africa.”
Regardless of help from either Iran or North Korea, Kirby continued, they will not change the course of the war as long as the U.S. is committed to ensuring Ukraine is secure.
American officials allege that the supply indicates that Russia is running out of weapons in its “special military campaign.” Michael Kofman, the director of the Russia Studies Program at the Center for Naval Analyses, suggested that “The Russian army has likely gone through millions of shells at this point.”
Ammunition sent by the North Koreans may reportedly include rounds for small arms like machine guns and AK-47s, according to Bruce Bennett of the Rand Corporation. The International Institute for Strategic Studies reports that North Korea could have roughly 20,000 artillery pieces and multiple rocket launchers.
“It’s not millions of artillery shells and rockets—that’s more than the likely consumption. It could be millions of small arms rounds,” Bennett said.
The exchange between the two countries could mutually benefit the other, according to the outlet. North Korea’s assistance to Russia could be seen as its way to establish a closer connection, which could be proven fruitful for the isolationist country when the Ukraine war comes to an end.
To reciprocate the assistance, Russia could return the favor and resupply North Korea with ammunition or help with its widespread food shortages, which is affecting the communist regime more than other countries. Last year, the United Nations released a report that 42% of the country’s population was undernourished.