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11 Jan, 2024 14:28

Moscow mocks US claims it used North Korean missiles

Ukraine has said it found no evidence of being attacked with such weapons, despite Washington's assertion
Moscow mocks US claims it used North Korean missiles

The US is peddling false information when claiming that Russia used North Korean missiles to attack Ukrainian targets, Moscow's envoy to the UN Vassily Nebenzia told a Security Council meeting on Wednesday.

Washington has accused Russia of buying North Korean ballistic missiles and of using them during mass strikes on Ukrainian targets in December and also last week. In his remarks last Thursday, US national security spokesperson John Kirby decried what he claimed was a “significant and concerning escalation.” Washington’s allies later brought up the issue at the UNSC briefing on Ukraine.

Nebenzia brushed off the allegations, citing statements by a Ukrainian official. Yury Ignat, spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force, said on national television that no forensic evidence to confirm the US claims was available to Kiev.

“It turns out that the United States replicates deliberately false information without even bothering to give a heads-up to its direct subjects,” the Russian diplomat remarked during the briefing.

North Korea is under UN sanctions, which include an arms embargo, for developing nuclear weapons and ICBMs. Moscow and Pyongyang have stated that while the two have a good relationship, their cooperation does not violate this restriction, contrary to Western claims.

South Korean ambassador Hwang Joon-kook accused Russia of testing North Korean weapons as part of its military action against Ukraine, and providing “valuable technical and military insights” to the producer nation. He cited unspecified experts as identifying the weapons as KN-23s, which North Korea claims to be nuclear-capable.

Ignat, the military spokesman, said that positively identifying a ballistic missile as North Korean would be challenging due to their similarity to Russian equivalents, and significant fragmentation on impact. Both nations’ designs stem from Soviet technology.

Another Ukrainian official, Oleg Sinegubov, head of the administration of Kharkov Region, claimed that some of the fragments recovered from Russian missile strike sites had had their markings erased, which he suggested indicated their foreign origin.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov previously rejected allegations that Moscow was procuring North Korean arms. In an interview in October, he said he does not comment on “rumors”, adding that “the Americans are always accusing everyone of all sorts of things”.