South Korea threatens to send massive weapons to Ukraine if Moscow transfers defense technologies to Pyongyang.

In the fall of 2022, satellite images, relayed by South Korea, of the Russian-Korean border area, showed abnormally long rail convoys, for a country supposedly under severe sanctions by the United Nations.

Even more surprising was the direction in which the convoy was traveling, from south to north, that is to say from North Korea, towards Russia. Quickly, the hypothesis of the sending, by Pyongyang, of ammunition and military equipment to support the Russian war effort in Ukraine, was thus mentioned.

This support from the North Korean regime for its newfound Russian friend is now beyond doubt, whether it involves 152 mm artillery shells for the 2S3 and 2S19 Msta-S, and 122 mm rockets. , 200 and 300 mm for the Grad, Smerch and Tornado systems. More recently, it even appeared that the Russian armies were making massive use of Hwasong-11, or KN-02 ballistic missiles, an unlicensed copy of the Soviet Toshka short-range ballistic missile, and Hwasong-11Ga, or KN-23, close to the Iskander missile.

While Vladimir Putin has completed a historic visit to Pyongyang, South Korea is now concerned about the price that Moscow has agreed to pay for this decisive support in ammunition, but also in manpower, and is threatening transfers. massive armaments to Ukraine, if Russia were to develop North Korean military or military-industrial tools.

The support in munitions and manpower given by North Korea to the war effort will not be without compensation.

The fact is, according to South Korean intelligence services, Pyonguang had sent, at the beginning of the year, a total of 6 containers of ammunition to Russia since the start of the conflict, massive support far exceeding, for example, the aid provided by Iran to its Russian ally in this conflict.

KN-23 ballistic missiles North Korea
Debris from North Korean KN-23 ballitic missiles have been identified in Ukraine, proving Pyongyang's growing involvement in its support for Russia.

The UN, for its part, estimates the number of containers, as of today, between 10 and 12, or 000 million shells and rockets, the two estimates, six months apart, do not necessarily exclude each other.

In addition to the munitions, North Korea also reportedly agreed to supply labor to Russia, whether in the agricultural sector, that of construction and, to a lesser extent, in industry, in order to compensate for the war mobilizations and requisitions which are beginning to weigh heavily on the Russian productive and economic apparatus. The figures on this subject, however, vary greatly, depending on the sources.

Obviously, such support cannot be provided without compensation, especially for a country whose nominal GDP caps at €30 billion for 26 million inhabitants. Indeed, the 5 million shells and rockets sent so far to Russia represent, alone, 5 to 10% of the country's annual GDP.

The whole question is therefore to know what Vladimir Putin promised Kim Jong-Un, in exchange for this massive support, which is certainly proving essential in the evolution of the balance of power in recent months in Korea?

If, on the international scene, there are reports of Russian food and medical aid provided to North Korea, Russia also has capabilities which are, today, very sorely lacking in the defense industry. North Korean, and therefore to the North Korean armies, always fully focused on a possible confrontation with its southern neighbor and its American ally.

KIm jong un Su-57 Moscow September 2023
Kim Jong-Un seemed very interested in certain Russian equipment, such as the Su-57, during his visit to Moscow in September 2023

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