NATIONAL NEWS

US says Russia has used North Korean ballistic missiles in Ukraine and is seeking Iranian missiles

Jan 4, 2024, 10:35 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. intelligence officials have determined that Russia has acquired ballistic missiles from North Korea and is seeking close-range ballistic missiles from Iran as Moscow struggles to replenish supplies for its war with Ukraine, the White House said Thursday.

Recently declassified intelligence found that North Korea has provided Russia with ballistic missile launchers and several ballistic missiles, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said. Russian forces fired at least one of those ballistic missiles into Ukraine on Dec. 30 and it landed in an open field in the Zaporizhzhia region, he said.

Russia launched multiple North Korean ballistic missiles on Tuesday as part of an overnight attack, the impact of which the U.S. was assessing, he said.

Kirby said a Russia-Iran deal had not been completed, but that the U.S. “is concerned that Russia’s negotiations to acquire close range ballistic missiles from Iran are actively advancing.”

The Biden administration has repeatedly sought to make the case that the Kremlin has become reliant on North Korea, as well as Iran, for the arms it needs to fight its war against Ukraine and has disclosed intelligence findings that it says show as much.

North Korea and Iran are largely isolated on the international stage for their nuclear programs and human rights records.

The White House in October said that North Korea delivered more than 1,000 containers of military equipment and munitions to Russia.

Relations between Russia and North Korea go back to the 1948 foundation of North Korea. Soviet officials installed a young and ambitious nationalist, Kim Il Sung, the late grandfather of current leader Kim Jong Un, as the country’s first ruler. Soviet aid shipments were crucial in keeping North Korea’s economy afloat for decades before the disintegration of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s.

Kim traveled to Russia in September to meet President Vladimir Putin and visit key military sites.

The Biden administration says Iran has provided Russia with attack drones.

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US says Russia has used North Korean ballistic missiles in Ukraine and is seeking Iranian missiles