(CNN) — Russia fired short-range ballistic missiles supplied by North Korea at Ukraine twice in the past week, which for Moscow is an “escalation” of Pyongyang’s support, which has serious implications for both the war in Europe and the security of the Korean Peninsula. . The White House said Thursday.
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said at a White House briefing that North Korean-made missiles were fired at Ukraine on December 30 and January 2. According to Kiev, they were among at least 500 missiles and drones fired at Ukraine around the New Year holidays.
The Dec. 30 attack involved a single missile that fell in a field, he said, while Russia’s Jan. 2 attack involved multiple missiles. Kirby said the effects of the missiles fired on January 2 were still being assessed, adding that they were part of a “huge” Russian attack.
“Because of our sanctions and export controls, Russia has found itself increasingly isolated on the world stage and forced to seek military equipment from like-minded countries,” Kirby said at the briefing. “As we have been warning publicly, one of those states is North Korea.”
How can North Korea benefit?
Kirby and analysts who spoke to CNN said the involvement of North Korean weapons in the Ukraine war would have ramifications 7,500 kilometers east of the Korean peninsula.
“This is a significant and worrying increase in support for the DPRK for Russia,” Kirby said, using the abbreviation of North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
“We hope that Russia and North Korea will learn from these launches,” Kirby said.
Analysts echoed that sentiment, saying North Korea’s use of missiles on the battlefield in Ukraine could give Pyongyang data it can’t get from a testing program it has conducted in recent years to test leader Kim Jong Un’s missile program. Dozens of weapons have been fired within the framework of.
“It will be interesting to see how these missiles fare in a more operational environment and outside of North Korea’s propaganda machine, especially any indication of the accuracy and guidance systems actually used,” said Joseph Dempsey, research associate at the Center for Defense and Military Analysis. How do I perform?” International Institute for Strategic Studies.
Ankit Panda, a senior fellow in the nuclear policy program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said Russia’s use of missiles against Ukraine allows North Korea to gather data similar to missiles used by South Korea and the United States . Can be deployed on the Korean Peninsula.
“In technical terms, I suspect the North Koreans would be very interested in knowing how their missiles perform against Western missile defense systems,” he said.
Speaking at the White House, Kirby said the consequences for South Korea and the region go beyond Pyongyang’s ability to improve its missile programs.
“Our assessment is that Pyongyang is seeking military assistance from Russia in return for its support, including fighter jets, surface-to-air missiles, armored vehicles, ballistic missile production equipment, military hardware and other advanced technologies,” Kirby said. Are included.”
“This will have worrying security implications for the Korean Peninsula and the Indo-Pacific region.”
The areas Kirby pointed to are where North Korea’s East Asian adversaries – particularly South Korea, the United States and Japan – are perceived to have a major advantage over the isolated nation.
For example, all three have advanced F-35 stealth fighters that will give them a great advantage when trying to break through North Korean air defenses. But if Pyongyang acquires more modern Russian surface-to-air missiles with advanced tracking radar, the F-35’s edge could be significantly diminished.
According to Lee Jang Wook, a researcher at the Center for Security and Strategy at the Korea Institute for Defense Analysis (KIDA), Russia may also send money to Pyongyang.
benefits for russia
Dempsey said, “North Korea’s SRBM missiles are unlikely to provide a qualitative advantage over missiles already in Russia’s inventory. Instead, the main benefit is quantitative, by boosting Russia’s depleted missile stockpile and providing an additional supply. By providing the line.”
North Korean missiles “will allow Russia to continue striking in depth without depleting its missile stockpile,” Panda said. Kirby said North Korean missiles have a range of up to 900 kilometers, allowing them to be fired from inside Russian territory, where Moscow’s air defenses can better protect the launchers from Ukrainian retaliatory attacks.
And North Korean supplies have another advantage for Moscow, Panda said.
“Given the land border between Russia and North Korea, it will be almost impossible for Western states to stop transfers as long as Pyongyang is willing to continue cooperation with Russia,” he said.
The outlook for Ukraine is worrying.
“Our guess is that Russia will use more North Korean missiles to attack Ukrainian civilian infrastructure and kill innocent Ukrainian civilians,” Kirby said.
CNN’s Soyun Kim contributed to this report.
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