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Russia using North Korean missiles in strikes against Ukraine: White House

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Russia has in recent days fired ballistic missiles into Ukraine that were provided by North Korea, the White House confirmed Thursday, calling it a “concerning escalation” of Pyongyang’s support for Moscow.

The United States determined North Korea had recently provided Russia with a ballistic missile launcher and several ballistic missiles, John Kirby, a White House spokesperson for national security issues, told reporters. 

Russia used at least one of those missiles in a Dec. 30, 2023, strike against Ukraine, and multiple others during a strike carried out Tuesday, Kirby said.

“We expect Russia and North Korea to learn from these launches, and we anticipate that Russia will use additional North Korean missiles to target Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure and to kill innocent Ukrainian civilians,” he said.

Kirby said the U.S. determined the Dec. 30 missile appeared to have landed in an open field in Ukraine. Officials are still assessing the impacts of the Jan. 2 launch, he said.

“This is a significant and concerning escalation in the DPRK’s support for Russia,” Kirby said.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby addresses reporters during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, January 3, 2024. Kirby discussed the situations in Iran and Israel-Palestine among other topics.

In return for providing Russia with ballistic missiles, Kirby said the U.S. believes North Korea is seeking fighter aircraft, surface to air missiles and other advanced technology to upgrade its own military capabilities.

The White House has for months been warning about a burgeoning partnership between North Korea and Russia as Moscow carries out its war against Ukraine. North Korea in October delivered more than 1,000 containers of munitions and other equipment to Russia.

“Due in part to our sanctions and export controls, Russia has become increasingly isolated on the world stage, and they’ve been forced to look to like-minded states for military equipment,” Kirby said Thursday. “As we’ve been warning publicly, one of those states is North Korea.”


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The escalation by Moscow comes as the White House has acknowledged it has run out of approved funding to provide military aid to Ukraine to defend itself against invading Russian forces.

The Biden administration announced a final round of $250 million in funding in late December to bolster Ukraine’s air defense capabilities and provide other equipment. But White House officials have stressed the U.S. will be unable to approve additional aid without congressional action.

Russia fired some 500 missiles and drones from Dec. 29 to Jan. 2, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, as Moscow ramps up its winter offensive. The strikes have killed dozens of Ukrainian civilians and injured hundreds more.

Updated 1:37 p.m.


Source: The Hill

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