Putin turns to North Korea in humiliating search for new weapons to use against Ukraine

6 September 2022, 07:48 | Updated: 6 September 2022, 08:05

Vladimir Putin is looking to buy missiles from North Korea
Vladimir Putin is looking to buy missiles from North Korea. Picture: Getty/Alamy

By Will Taylor

Russia has begun buying millions of rockets and artillery shells from the "hermit kingdom" North Korea in a humiliating development in its botched invasion of Ukraine.

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Vladimir Putin has been forced to turn to international pariah Kim Jong-un to supply his bloody war against Kyiv.

His army is now having to fend off a series of precision strikes designed to degrade its defence of the south, where Ukraine has launched a counter attack to retake the Kherson region.

As those strikes spectacularly destroy ammo dumps in a wave of fireballs that send plumes of smoke and exploding shells across the skyline of occupied Ukraine, and as Western sanctions try to throttle Russia's ability to wage war, Moscow has now called for help from the tiny, internationally unpopular communist dictatorship in Pyongyang.

A US official, anonymously briefing the media, said the move shows how "the Russian military continues to suffer from severe supply shortages in Ukraine, due in part to export controls and sanctions".

US intelligence is unsure how much weaponry Russia will buy but believes the Kremlin could come calling again in the future.

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Putin has turned to North Korea for weapons
Putin has turned to North Korea for weapons. Picture: Alamy

It follows Iranian deliveries of drones to Russia, though Putin's military has struggled with technical problems with the Mohajer-6 and Shahed-series units.

The Biden administration believes Russia could be planning to buy up hundreds of the vehicles to use them against Ukraine, which has used unmanned vehicles to great effect.

North Korea has tied itself to Russia over the Ukraine invasion, blaming the US for the invasion, and suggested it could send construction workers to rebuild regions in occupied regions, which Russia may try to annex.

It has already recognised the independence of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, making it the only country alongside Russia and Syria to do so.

North Korea has tested more than 30 ballistic missiles in 2020. Among them was the first test of an intercontinental missile since 2017.