The United States has said that Russia is using ballistic missiles from North Korea and is seeking close-range ballistic missiles from Iran.
White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said on Thursday that recently declassified intelligence found that North Korea had provided Moscow with the weapons, at least one of which was fired into Ukraine on December 30, landing in an open field in the Zaporizhia region.
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Russia also launched “multiple” of the North Korean missiles on Tuesday during an overnight attack, he added.
Kirby also said that a Russia-Iran deal had not been completed but that the US “is concerned that Russia’s negotiations to acquire close-range ballistic missiles from Iran are actively advancing”.
He said Washington and its allies will now raise the matter at the United Nations Security Council as it signals a breach of US sanctions against North Korea.
The Biden administration has repeatedly looked to make the case that the Kremlin has become dependent on North Korea and Iran for the weapons it needs to continue its military operation in Ukraine and has disclosed findings it says prove that.
So far, North Korea and Iran are largely isolated on the international stage for their nuclear programmes and human rights records.
In October, the White House said that North Korea had delivered more than 1,000 containers of military equipment and munitions to Moscow.
Britain on Thursday condemned Russia’s use of North Korean missiles in recent attacks against Ukraine. “We urge North Korea to cease its arms supply to Russia,” the UK’s Foreign Office spokesperson said in a statement.
Earlier on Thursday, Ukraine announced that its air force had conducted a raid on a Russian command post near the occupied city of Sevastopol and hit a military unit in a separate attack on the Crimean Peninsula.
Air Force Commander Mykola Oleshchuk posted a video on the Telegram app showing smoke rising from an explosion near Sevastopol, a Crimean port that serves as the main headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.
“Thanks again to the Air Force pilots and everyone who planned the operation for perfect combat work,” he said.
The Moscow-installed governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhayev, described the attack as “the most massive in recent times”.
He said one person was hospitalised after a piece of shrapnel struck.
Russia’s defence ministry said its forces had foiled a Ukrainian attack, destroying 10 incoming missiles over the peninsula.