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Ukrainian servicemen fire with a BM21 Grad multiple launch rocket system in a frontline in Kharkiv region, as Russias attack on Ukraine continues, Ukraine August 2, 2022. — Reuters/File
Ukrainian servicemen fire with a BM21 Grad multiple launch rocket system in a frontline in Kharkiv region, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, Ukraine August 2, 2022. — Reuters/File

According to a report by the Financial Times, Ukrainian soldiers have been observed utilising North Korean rockets that they claim were obtained after being seized by a “friendly” country and subsequently delivered to Ukraine. 

The Ukrainian defence ministry has suggested that these arms were captured by Russian forces. 

However, although the United States has accused North Korea of supplying arms to Russia, including alleged shipments via sea, no concrete evidence has been presented, and the presence of North Korean weapons on Ukrainian battlefields has not been widely observed.

Both North Korea and Russia have vehemently denied engaging in any arms transactions. 

Nevertheless, the report reveals that Ukrainian troops operating Soviet-era Grad multiple-launch rocket systems near the war-torn city of Bakhmut showcased these North Korean weapons. 

Bakhmut has been a site of prolonged and brutal fighting.

In a significant development, Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu recently made a rare visit to Pyongyang to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of the Korean War. 

This visit marks the first time that Moscow’s top defence official has visited North Korea since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.

During the visit, Shoigu was photographed inspecting prohibited North Korean ballistic missiles alongside leader Kim Jong Un at a military expo in Pyongyang. 

This gesture indicates the deepening ties between the two countries as they navigate their respective relationships with the United States.

The utilization of North Korean rockets by Ukrainian soldiers raises questions about the origin and means of acquisition of these weapons. 

While the claims of them being captured by Russian forces remain unsubstantiated, the situation underscores the complexities of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and the involvement of external actors. 

As tensions persist, it will be crucial to monitor any further developments regarding the alleged arms transactions between North Korea, Russia, and Ukraine.

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