The North Korean missile that Russia fired at Ukraine included American and European components

(CNN) — The North Korean ballistic missile fired by Russian forces into Ukraine last month included hundreds of components belonging to companies in the United States and Europe, according to a new report.

The findings mark the first public recognition of North Korea’s reliance on foreign technology for its missile program and underscore the persistent problem facing the Biden administration as it seeks to stop North Korea from importing cheap, Western-made microelectronics intended for civilian use. Wants to prevent them from ending up in used weapons. , Iran and Russia.

The British research organization Conflict Armament Research, or CAR, directly examined 290 components of North Korean ballistic missile debris recovered in Kharkiv, Ukraine in January and found that 75% of the components were designed and sold by companies incorporated in the United States. United, according to a report first shared with CNN.

According to investigators, another 16% of the components found in the missile were linked to companies involved in Europe, and 9% were linked to companies involved in Asia. According to the report, these components primarily make up the missile’s navigation system and can be traced to 26 companies based in the United States, China, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Singapore, Switzerland and Taiwan.

Last year, as CNN previously reported, CAR determined that 82% of the components of Iranian-made attack drones fired by Russia inside Ukraine were made by American companies.

Along with sweeping sanctions and export controls aimed at curbing access to Western-made technology, the Biden administration also created a wide-ranging working group in late 2022 to investigate how American and Western components, including American-made microelectronics, enter Iranian markets. How they were ending – Made drones that Russia is launching in hundreds of thousands in Ukraine.

The National Security Council did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Avoid 20 years of sanctions

CAR’s latest report does not name the specific companies that made the components, as there is no evidence that the companies knowingly sent parts to North Korea; Instead, the components were transferred elsewhere in the vast global supply chain after the companies sold them to various international distributors. Therefore, CAR prefers to work with companies to solve the problem rather than isolate and embarrass them, a CAR spokesperson told CNN.

missile parts

The rear of a ballistic missile examined by the Conflict Armament Research Group, including the missile’s navigation system and components Countries of origin, left to right: China, US; China, Japan, Netherlands, USA; Germany and Taiwan; USA.; Singapore, Switzerland and the United States. Credit: Courtesy of Sangharsh Ordnance Research

The investigation also shows that North Korea was able to produce the missile and quickly ship it to Russia. The components examined by investigators were manufactured between 2021 and 2023. Based on those production dates, investigators say the missile “could not have been assembled before March 2023” and was being used by Russia in Ukraine in January.

The fact that North Korea’s missile production appears to source parts from the West underscores how difficult it is for the United States and its allies to control the fate of commercial electronics, especially semiconductor components, which can be tracked. It is very difficult to do. Once they enter the global supply chain.

The CAR report said the results indicate that North Korea “has developed a robust procurement network, capable of evading sanctions that have been in place for nearly two decades.”

And while Russia has been receiving supplies from North Korea and Iran, the Biden administration has been unable to send new weapons and equipment to the Ukrainian military because Congress has not approved the supplemental funding needed to do so.

Further evidence of relations between Russia and North Korea

The White House confirmed last month that Russia was firing North Korean missiles at Ukrainian cities. North Korea may have supplied “millions of artillery shells” to Russia over the past year, according to a report released last week by the Pentagon’s inspector general.

CNN previously reported that Washington’s intelligence services are concerned about the growing ties between North Korea and Russia and the long-term implications of a new level of strategic partnership between the two countries.

CAR said its investigation of the North Korean missile shows that North Korea is capable of producing advanced weapons by integrating recently produced components, despite UN Security Council sanctions since 2006 that restrict North Korea’s production of ballistic missiles. Puts a stop to. ,

Russia’s use of North Korean missiles on the battlefield in Ukraine could also provide Pyongyang with data it cannot get from the testing program, which has fired dozens of such weapons in recent years under Kim. Jong Un.

A Security Council spokesman said last month that North Korea may also seek military assistance from Russia, including “fighter aircraft, surface-to-air missiles, armored vehicles, ballistic missile production equipment, munitions and other advanced technologies.” Are.” John Kirby.

“This will have worrying security implications for the Korean Peninsula and the Indo-Pacific region,” he said.

(TagstoTranslate)Russian war in Ukraine(T)North Korea missile

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