March 25, 2023

Russia is buying millions of rockets and artillery shells from North Korea for use in Ukraine, a senior U.S. defense official said, in a sign that Western sanctions are seriously hampering Moscow’s military supply efforts.

Russia is turning to Kim Jong-un’s regime for help, while it also relies on another pariah state, Iran, for military supplies. U.S. officials revealed late last month that Russia had received Iranian-made drones.

Last month, Russian cargo planes loaded Mohajer-6 and Shahed series drones at an airport in Iran within days before delivering them to Russia, three U.S. officials told NBC News. They said the delivery was part of Russia’s plan to import “hundreds” of drones from Iran.

But U.S. officials said UAVs diverted to Russia had experienced “multiple failures.” They did not provide further details on the nature of the technical issue.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has sparked a wave of economic sanctions from Washington and its European allies, putting Moscow in a similar position to Iran, which has been shut out of Western economies and the international financial system for years.

Iran has become the biggest buyer of Russian grain since the war began, and the two countries have announced a boosted trade deal, including a $40 billion deal to win Russian help in developing Iranian gas fields.

Defense officials have said that as the war in Ukraine drags on and Russia consumes thousands of rounds of ammunition a week, it may seek to buy more military equipment from North Korea. The New York Times is Begin by reporting a purchase.

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