Russia’s increasing reliance on artillery ammo from North Korea is causing serious problems as its low quality means some shells are tearing gun barrels apart and injuring gunners, Ukraine’s military has said.
In a post on Facebook, Colonel General Mikhail Teplinsky, said the problem was particularly rife among troops of the “Dnepr" grouping of forces operating around the southern Kherson region where they are battling a Ukrainian bridgehead.
He said: “Due to insufficient ammunition of their own production, Russian occupation troops are forced to use low-quality artillery and mortar attacks supplied from North Korea.
“Due to the unsatisfactory condition of such ammunition, there are unique cases of their tearing directly in the barrels of the occupiers' cannons and mortars, which leads to the loss of weapons and personnel.”
Last month presumably uninjured Russian soldiers posted videos on social media thanking North Korea for their new rockets and artillery shells – though evidence suggested the potentially inferior quality meant firing adjustments were needed.
In one video, a Russian soldier could be seen standing in front of a pile of rockets and thanking their “friends” from North Korea for the weapons.
#Russia / #Ukraine 🇷🇺🇺🇦: A #Russian soldier released a new video of 122mm Grad rockets which were recently obtained by Russian Troops.— War Noir (@war_noir) November 8, 2023
The rockets appear to be rare R-122 HE-FRAG rockets with F-122 fuzes. These are produced and supplied #NorthKorea/#DPRK 🇰🇵.#UkraineRussiaWar pic.twitter.com/jzaIpMJUfn
In October, Ukraine Weapons Tracker 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 122mm OF-462 and 152mm OF-540 projectiles.
They also retrieved field manuals that showed the required range corrections by using different charges for some projectiles.
The fact that these shells appeared on the front line instead of stockpiles within Russia could also signify Russia’s dwindling supply of artillery shells; Russia has been relying on its artillery superiority in its current invasion of Ukraine, with some sources putting it at ten to one heavy guns earlier this year.
Ukraine’s military intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov said in September that they are certain North Korea had supplied 122mm and 152mm artillery shells, as well as Grad rockets, to Russia.
US intelligence believed that North Korea had sent a thousand containers of weapons to Russia, as reported earlier by Kyiv Post.
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