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US accuses North Korea of trying to hide shipments of ammunition to Russia

The US is accusing North Korea of secretly supplying Russia with artillery shells for the Ukraine war by concealing where they are being transported to, according to newly declassified intelligence.

US officials believe that the surreptitious North Korean shipments — along with drones and other weaponry that Russia has acquired from Iran — are further evidence that even Moscow’s conventional artillery arsenals have dwindled during eight months of combat. North Korea is trying to hide the shipments by making it appear as if the ammunition is being sent to countries in the Middle East or North Africa, the intelligence says.

The recent intelligence comes about two months after the US intelligence community said that it believed Russia was in the process of buying millions of rockets and artillery shells from North Korea for use on the battlefield, CNN and other outlets reported at the time.

“In September, the (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) publicly denied that it intended to provide ammunition to Russia,” the National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications John Kirby said in a statement to CNN. “However, our information indicates that the DPRK 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.”

Officials did not provide evidence to support the new allegations. The declassified intelligence also did not provide details about how many weapons are part of the shipments, or how they would be paid for.

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