SEOUL, - The United Kingdom's defense ministry states that North Korean munitions have almost certainly been delivered to western Russia, for use in Russia's conflict with Ukraine. This follows heightened speculation regarding the transfer of arms between North Korea and Russia.
According to a new release by Yonhap News Agency, the information was posted on X, formerly Twitter, on Thursday (local time). "Despite Russia's official rejection of recent reports, it is almost certain that North Korean munitions have now reached ammunition depots in western Russia," the ministry stated. "These depots support Russian military operations in Ukraine."
Should North Korea maintain its current rate of military-related shipments to Russia, it will be "on course" to join the ranks of significant overseas arms suppliers to Moscow, alongside Iran and Belarus, according to the ministry.
International condemnation has followed these suspected arms transfers, as they would contravene multiple United Nations Security Council sanctions on weapons trade with North Korea, sanctions that Russia itself has supported.
In a joint statement by Seoul, Washington, and Tokyo, the three nations confirmed that part of these weapons deliveries did occur, adding that North Korea is seeking military assistance to advance its own capabilities.
While it remains "unclear" what Russia has agreed to provide North Korea at this stage, the British ministry suggests that the deal likely includes financial compensation, provision of military technology, and cooperation in other sectors, such as space technology. "It is unlikely the full package has been finalized," the ministry said. The agreement was probably a key subject during recent high-level exchanges between the two countries.
The U.S. media outlet Voice of America, using commercial satellite imagery from Planet Labs, reported on Friday that signs of cargo deliveries have been detected at the North Korean and Russian border area and at the North Korean port of Najin, thereby strengthening suspicions regarding the arms agreement between the two nations.