The US, joined by the UK and France, challenged North Korea at the United Nations on Friday over its weapon transfers to Russia, claiming that it is breaching arms control measures.

Robert Wood, the US deputy envoy to the UN, called the weapon transfers “unlawful.”

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms, those unlawful transfers, which have significantly contributed to Russia’s ability to conduct its war against Ukraine,” Wood said ahead of a UN Security Council meeting on the issue, as reported by AFP.

The supply of arms and munitions by North Korea violates Security Council resolutions on the issue from 2006, 2009 and 2016, he said.

Jonah Leff, executive director at Conflict Armament Research (CAR), a group that tracks the use of weapons in war, told the Security Council that CAR had found evidence of North Korean ballistic missiles being used in Ukraine, which is a breach of sanctions.

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“A CAR field investigation team physically documented the remnants of a ballistic missile that struck Kharkiv on January 2, 2024,” he said, adding that the conclusion was made "based on several unique features” of North Korean missiles. He said the missiles also used to strike Kyiv and Zaporizhzhia this year.

The group first reported Moscow’s use of North Korean missiles in Ukraine in January.

Vasily Nebenzya, Russia’s ambassador to the UN, denied Moscow had sought to undermine sanctions and opposed the presence of Ukraine and the EU at the meeting.

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Sources told Kyiv Post that various brands of gasoline and diesel fuel with a total volume of 12.5 thousand cubic meters were stored there.

It’s believed that Pyongyang began sending weapons – mostly artillery shells – to Russia since late 2023, with Seoul recently claiming that almost 5 million shells have been transferred in total.  

However, Russian soldiers also reported at the time that range adjustments were needed despite being the same standard likely due to the shells’ inferior quality.

High-ranking officials from North Korea and Russia have also made multiple bilateral visits, with the latest seeing Russian President Vladimir Putin meeting North Korea leader Kim Jong-Un in Pyongyang and signing a security agreement, during which Putin said he “does not rule out” military-technical cooperation with Pyongyang.

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Following the meeting, North Korea also said it’d send a military engineering unit to Ukraine to aid Russia’s invasion within two months.

However, North Korea’s UN ambassador Kim Song told the Security Council there was “no reason whatever to be concerned,” and the agreement signed between Moscow and Pyongyang was to “promote progress” in relations.

Wood said China could do more to prevent growing military ties between Russia and North Korea, to which Beijing’s UN ambassador responded by saying “the US must reflect deeply – especially on its own actions instead of blaming others” for growing tensions on the Korean peninsula.

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