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Russia used N. Korea missiles for Ukraine attacks

North Korea has provided Russia with ballistic missiles and missile launchers that were used in recent attacks on Ukraine in a major escalation of support for the Russians, according to US officials.

The comments came as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called for boosting production of missile launchers in preparation for a “military showdown” with South Korea and the United States, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

The Pyongyang-supplied missiles with ranges of around 900km were fired by Russia in two attacks on Ukraine within the past week, US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said.

“Our information indicates that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea recently provided Russia with ballistic missile launchers and several ballistic missiles,” Mr Kirby said in a briefing at the White House.

“This is a significant and concerning escalation of the DPRK’s support for Russia.”

John Kirby said the US would raise the matter at the United Nations Security Council

Russian forces launched at least one of the North Korean-supplied missiles on December 30, which landed in an open field in the Zaporizhzhia region, according to the spokesman.

Russian forces then fired “multiple” ballistic missiles into Ukraine as part of a mass aerial attack on January 2, he added.

The United States and its allies will now raise the matter at the United Nations Security Council as it represents a breach of UN sanctions against North Korea, said Mr Kirby.

Russia also intends to purchase missiles from its ally Iran and talks are under way on the purchase of close-range ballistic missiles although no agreement has yet been reached, Mr Kirby added.

The United States said in October that North Korea had delivered more than 1,000 containers of military equipment and munitions to Russia, but it was the first time it had reported the use of such weapons.

Kim Jong Un travelled to Russia’s far east in September and met Putin, sparking concern among Ukrainian allies over the possibility of a potential arms deal.

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