Satellite photos show how Russia could be sending weapons from North Korea | ET REALITY


Satellite photos appear to provide new evidence of cargo ships traveling between Russia and North Korea in support of an illicit arms trade that bolsters Moscow’s war in Ukraine, report says analysis released on Monday.

The United States has repeatedly accused Russia for more than a year of buying weapons from North Korea. Images provided by the Royal United Services Institute in Britain not only support that allegation, but also provide additional details about shipments from a North Korean port that appear to have been delivered to a Russian ammunition depot about 125 miles from the Ukrainian border. .

The analysis says it is impossible to prove what was in the hundreds of containers that were loaded at the port of Rajin, in North Korea’s Rason Special Economic Zone, onto two cargo ships with ties to the Russian military.

The White House on Friday accused North Korea of ​​sending more than 1,000 containers to Russia that were believed to be filled with weapons. And U.S. officials have said the shipments violate United Nations sanctions that ban North Korea of the international trade in arms and military equipment.

After the White House accusations, a senior Russian diplomat, Oleg Burmistrov, was quoted in Russian state media on Sunday he denied that Moscow had violated UN sanctions. North Korea has also previously denied sending weapons to Russia.

The photographs tracked transfers that began in August, a few weeks after Russian Defense Minister Sergei K. Shoigu attended an arms exhibition with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in the country’s capital, Pyongyang. .

Satellite photographs show that dozens of containers of the same size and color that left Rajin were loaded onto trains at the Russian port of Dunai and arrived at the ammunition depot in Tikhoretsk. Some of the North Korean shipments bound for Dunai were photographed on October 14.

Two cargo ships, the Angara and the Maria, have made at least five runs between Dunai and Rajin since the August expo, although the analysis noted that both ships had at times turned off their transponders, making them difficult to track.

Around the same time, the ammunition depot in Tikhoretsk went from containing a modest number of ammunition storage pits to more than 100 newly dug by the end of September, satellite photographs show.

James Byrne, author of the new analysis, said Russia was suspected of sending empty containers to the port of Rajin to be filled with weapons. North Korea’s arsenal contains thousands of Soviet-era artillery systems, according to a 2020 study by the RAND Corporation, with the potential to supply a key weapon in Moscow’s war of attrition with Ukraine.

The ship owners could face additional financial sanctions on top of the UN sanctions, Byrne said. Beyond that, “stopping shipments would clearly be difficult without taking kinetic measures, which would be quite aggravating,” she said Monday.

He added that South Korea and Japan would most likely have to deal with the shipments as they “could have important strategic consequences for them on the peninsula.”

Sanctions were imposed on the ship Angara and its Russia-based owners, M Leasing and Marine Trans Shipping, last year in connection with the war in Ukraine, and the ship itself was accused years ago of delivering weapons to Syria, South Sudan and Iraq.

The Maria is owned by Azia Shipping Holdings, a Cyprus-based company, and has ties to a company in Moscow that Royal United Services analysts say oversees logistics for the Russian Defense Ministry.

Attempts to reach both companies, in Moscow and Nicosia, failed on Monday.

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