Russia Requesting Ammunition From North Korea: Washington

Russia Requesting Ammunition From North Korea: Washington
Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Far Eastern Federal University campus on Russky Island in the far-eastern Russian port of Vladivostok on April 25, 2019. (Alexey Nikolsky/AFP via Getty Images)
Aldgra Fredly

The United States has seen indications that Russia approached North Korea to request ammunition amid its ongoing war in Ukraine, a U.S. official said on Sept. 6.

Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, the Pentagon press secretary, said that Washington received information that Russia approached North Korea and "specifically asked for ammunition," but he was unable to provide more details.

Ryder said that Russia's request to North Korea suggests that Russia is facing "some challenges on the sustainment front" amid the Ukraine war, which has been ongoing since February.

"I'm not able to provide any more detail than that at this point in time, but it does demonstrate and is indicative of the situation that Russia finds itself in terms of its logistics and sustainment capabilities as it relates to Ukraine," he told reporters.

Washington assessed that the purchase could include "millions of rounds, rockets, and artillery shells" from North Korea, but there is no indication that the deal has been concluded, said John Kirby, national security spokesman for the White House.

Vassily Nebenzia, Russian ambassador to the United Nations, described the U.S. claims on Russia's military as "another fake thing" that had been circulated, The Associated Press reported.

North Korea's official state media reported last month that leader Kim Jong Un and Russian President Vladimir Putin exchanged letters in which Putin urged to "expand the comprehensive and constructive bilateral relations with common efforts."
In his reply, Kim said that strategic and tactical cooperation between the two nations had reached a new level, with common efforts to frustrate military threats and provocation posed by “hostile forces,” according to state-run Korea Central News Agency.

Russia Received UAVs from Iran

The United States had previously assessed that Russia received unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from Iran in August, which was believed to be the first shipment of "hundreds of Iranian UAVs" that Russia planned to import.

State Department principal deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel said on Sept. 6 that Russian transport aircraft loaded the UAV equipment at an airfield in Iran last month and flew from Iran to Russia.

"We assess that Russia intends to use these Iranian UAVs, which can conduct air-to-surface attacks, electronic warfare, and targeting on the battlefield in Ukraine," Patel said at a press briefing.

Patel said that Washington received information indicating that UAVs associated with the transfer to Russia had encountered "numerous failures," but didn't ellaborate.

He noted that Russian forces in Ukraine are suffering from "major supply shortages" due in part to sanctions and export controls, which have forced Russia "to rely on unreliable countries like Iran for supplies and equipment."

"Russia deepening an alliance with Iran is something that the whole world and especially those in the region should look at and see as a profound threat," Patel said, adding that Washington will continue to enforce sanctions on the Russian and Iranian arms trades.

Aldgra Fredly is a freelance writer based in Malaysia, mainly covering Asia Pacific news for The Epoch Times.