Russian soldiers posted videos on social media thanking North Korea for the new rockets, and photos of artillery shells recently shipped from North Korea also surfaced on the internet – but the potentially lower quality necessitated shooting adjustments.
In the video, a Russian soldier could be seen standing in front of a pile of rockets and thanking his “friends” in North Korea for the weapons.
In October, Weapons tracker in Ukraine discovered photos of artillery shells used by Russian troops and identified them as North Korean-made.
According to the Ukrainian military publication “Vodogray”, the shells were copies of the Soviet 122 mm OF-462 and 152 mm OF-540 projectiles. They also recovered field manuals showing the range corrections required using different loads for certain projectiles.
The fact that these shells appear on the front lines instead of being stored in Russia could also mean Russia’s artillery shell reserves are dwindling; Russia is relying on its artillery superiority in its current invasion of Ukraine, with some sources putting it at ten to one in terms of heavy artillery earlier this year.
Ukraine’s military intelligence chief, Kyrylo Budanov, said in September that he was certain that North Korea had supplied 122mm and 152mm artillery shells, as well as Grad rockets, to Russia.
US intelligence believed North Korea sent a thousand weapons containers to Russia, as previously reported Kyiv Post.
Assessment of the Russian ISW offensive campaign, November 13, 2023
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Open source intelligence (OSINT) analysts estimated that at least 500,000 shells were sent, while Estonian intelligence chief Ants Kiviselg’s estimates put it at 350,000.
In September, Kim Jong Un made a high-level diplomatic visit to Russia to consolidate ties between the two countries, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov calling bilateral relations “new and strategic” a month later.
However, both countries have denied any claims regarding arms deliveries.