A missile that struck Kharkiv during the massive Russian bombardment of Ukrainian cities on Jan. 2 bears notable similarities to North Korean models, authorities in the city have said.

Dmytro Chubenko, the spokesman for the Kharkiv Regional Prosecutor's Office, said after impact “very large parts remained intact” which has allowed a detailed examination of the weapon.

Describing it as an “atypical” version of Russia’s Iskander missile, he said: “This missile is slightly larger than Iskander, literally 10 mm in diameter.

“It differs internally: it is a winding of wires, since the Iskander has protection against EW, special controls. Here it is lacking, here the wires just run inside the missile.”


Chubenko said that comparisons to North Korean versions available in open-sources, the missile “looks very similar.”

He added: “And, indeed, the North Korean missile was manufactured based on the Iskander.

“That is why we are leaning towards the version that maybe it is a missile provided by North Korea.”

Chubenko also noted that markings and production numbers had been removed from the missile before it was launched, something not previously seen by authorities in Kharkiv.

He said: “The attempt to erase the numbers on certain parts indicates a desire to hide information about the missile. In addition, we can see from the internal equipment: the inscriptions inside are not too neat and are made randomly.

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“Usually, in such missiles, made both in the Soviet Union and already in Russia, the inscriptions are very neat, everything is done very thoroughly, in some cases even the names of the factory staff are put in order to establish those responsible – who exactly did what.

“There is no such thing here. And the inscriptions, numbers, abbreviations that are there, they are of different types.”

But Chubenko was keen to stress no final conclusions had been made, saying: “I’d like to note that there is currently no direct evidence to claim that it was North Korea or some other country.”


Ukraine’s western allies have been more forthright in their accusations, with National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby saying on Thursday that North Korea has provided Russia with ballistic missiles and missile launchers that were used in recent attacks.

“This is a significant and concerning escalation,” Kirby told reporters in a briefing.

Russian forces launched at least one of the North Korean-supplied missiles on Dec. 30, which landed in an open field in the Zaporizhzhia region, Kirby said.

Moscow's forces then fired “multiple” ballistic missiles into Ukraine as part of a mass aerial attack on Jan. 2, he added.

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