Video of a Russian soldier in Ukraine talking about ammunition supplied by North Korea emerged on social media this week, apparently debunking denials from Pyongyang and Moscow that the isolated East Asian country is supplying weapons for the war in village.
A video titled “Extended Range Projectiles from Multiple Rocket Launchers (MRLs), Kindly Supplied by North Korean Comrades, Arrive in NVO Zone,” was shared Nov. 12 on Telegram channel called Paratrooper’s Diary, which contains frequent posts from Russian troops fighting on the Northern Front in Ukraine.
The video shows a Russian soldier standing in front of a pile of rockets.
“Our friends gave us a new type of ammunition similar to the twenty-second,” the soldier said in a possible reference to the rocket’s designation, R-122. “They travel longer distances and hit the target with greater precision. Victory will be ours.”
If the weapons were indeed North Korean, it would be evidence that Russia is violating United Nations Security Council Resolution 1874, which bans arms trade with North Korea.
The prospect that the rockets were supplied by North Korea is very likely, David Maxwell, vice president of the Center for Asia-Pacific Strategy, told RFA Korea.
“These MRLs are ubiquitous,” Maxwell said. “Given that the weapons are so common and so heavily used for indirect fire against Ukrainian tactical targets, the Russians are likely rapidly depleting their ammunition supplies and therefore will need supplies from North Korea.”
The rockets in the video were also identified as North Korean by military blogger War Noir on X.
“The rockets appear to be rare R-122 HE-FRAG rockets with F-122 fuzes. These are produced and supplied #North Korea/#DPRK“, read a November 8 tweet from War Noir, which contained the same video.
RFA previously reported that the same blogger had identified North Korean weapons used by Hamas fighters in attacks against Israel last month.
The Russian denials
While both Pyongyang and Moscow have denied that North Korea is supplying Russia with weapons for use in Ukraine, this is not the first time evidence to the contrary has emerged.
In OctoberThe Ukrainian weapons analysis group “Ukraine Weapons Tracker” published in a tweet on X photos showing the Russian army using North Korean-made artillery shells.
But on Tuesday, a Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said at a news conference that allegations that Russia was using North Korean weapons were “completely unfounded.”
“[The allegations] they have not been confirmed by anything,” he said.
North Korea also rejected the idea, calling it an “absurd manipulation of public opinion.”
The United States is deeply concerned about “the expansion of military cooperation between North Korea and Russia,” US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Tuesday. “North Korea is supplying lethal weapons to Russia.”
Meanwhile, South Korea’s Ministry of Unification was also critical of the apparent increase in military cooperation between Pyongyang and Moscow in a press conference last month.
“North Korea has repeatedly denied arms trade with Russia, but related circumstances are coming to light one after another,” said ministry spokesman Koo Byoung Sam. “The true nature of North Korea, which deceived the whole world, is revealed to the world.”
RFA sent a message to the administrator of the Telegram channel to confirm the veracity of the video which states that the Russian military received weapons from North Korea but received no response.
Translated by Claire Shinyoung Oh Lee. Edited by Eugene Whong and Malcolm Foster.