North Korean missile fragments found in Ukraine’s Kharkiv

Russia used North Korean Hwasong 11 ballistic missile in 2 January attack on Kharkiv, UN monitors find

Arpan Rai
Tuesday 30 April 2024 05:55 BST
Kim Jong-un meets Vladimir Putin for the first time

Fragments of a North Korean Hwasong 11 ballistic missile were found in Ukraine’s Kharkiv after it was attacked by the Russian military in early January, according to the UN sanctions monitors.

In a report seen by Reuters, the monitors informed the Security Council that “debris recovered from a missile that landed in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on 2 January 2024 derives from DPRK Hwasong 11 series missiles”. DPRK is Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the formal name of North Korea.

The attack killed at least three people and injured 62. The use of North Korean missiles in Ukraine is in violation of the 2006 UN arms embargo on the East Asian country, the report noted.

"Information on the trajectory provided by Ukrainian authorities indicates it was launched within the territory of the Russian Federation," the monitors told the Security Council’s North Korea sanctions committee.

The sanctions monitors travelled to Ukraine earlier in April to inspect the debris and found no evidence that the missile was made by Russia. They "could not independently identify from where the missile was launched, nor by whom”, the report said.

"Such a location, if the missile was under control of Russian forces, would probably indicate procurement by nationals of the Russian Federation," it added.

North Korea is under UN sanctions for its nuclear missiles programme, and is banned from testing and using atomic weapons. But the Kim Jong-un regime has ignored the sanctions to test a range of weapons and share some missile systems with Russia.

The country tested over 30 ballistic missiles, including five intercontinental ballistic missiles, last year alone.

In 2022, North Korea tested more than 70 ballistic and cruise missiles between January and November, marking it as the most intense period of missile activity endangering South Korea and Japan. Some of the missiles were designed to overfly Japanese airspace.

After the 2 January attack, Kharkiv’s regional prosecutor’s office had showcased fragments of a missile to the media and said they were different from debris recovered from Russian models of missiles and that this “may be a missile which was supplied by North Korea”.

The US and its allies have accused North Korea of transferring weapons to Russia for use against Ukraine, which it invaded in February 2022. Moscow and Pyongyang have denied the claims but vowed last year to deepen military relations.

In February, the US accused Russia of launching North Korean ballistic missiles against Ukraine on at least nine occasions, an accusation Russia denied.

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