In a surprising turn of events, Ukrainian soldiers have reportedly been seen using North Korean rockets in the ongoing conflict. According to a report by the Financial Times, the troops stated that the North Korean rockets were seized by a “friendly” country before being delivered to Ukraine. The weapons were used by Ukrainian soldiers operating Soviet-era Grad multiple-launch rocket systems near the eastern city of Bakhmut.
The Ukrainian Defence Ministry suggested that the arms were captured from Russian forces. “We capture their tanks, we capture their equipment, and it is very possible that this is also the result of the Ukrainian army successfully conducting a military operation,” said Yuriy Sak, an adviser to Ukraine’s Defence Minister. He added that Russia has been shopping around for different types of munitions in all kinds of tyrannies, including North Korea and Iran.
The U.S. has accused North Korea of handing over weapons to Russia but has not produced proof of this, and North Korean weapons have not been widely seen on the battlefield in Ukraine. Both Pyongyang and Moscow have denied they are involved in arms transactions. It is highly unlikely North Korea would have provided Ukraine with weapons as it has been supportive of the Russian invasion.
Earlier this week, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu visited North Korea to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the Korean War. It marked the first visit by Moscow’s top defence official since the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union.
The use of North Korean rockets by Ukrainian forces marks a new and unexpected development in the ongoing conflict. The origin and journey of these weapons raise questions about the complex web of international relations and arms transactions. As the conflict continues, the international community watches closely, awaiting the next surprising turn of events.