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North Korean Missile Used By Russia In Ukraine War Traced To US Companies, Debris Reveals: Report


The remains of a North Korean missile used by Russia in Ukraine have been traced back to U.S. companies, potentially exposing illicit procurement networks.

What Happened: The Conflict Armament Research (CAR) organization, based in the UK, analyzed the remnants of a North Korean ballistic missile used by Russia against Ukrainian forces in Kharkiv on Jan. 2. The organization found that a significant number of electronic components, including those for the missile’s navigation system, were recently manufactured and bore the marks of U.S.-based companies, Reuters reported.

The report, released this week, revealed that 75% of the components were linked to U.S.-based companies, 16% to European companies, and 11% to Asian companies. The date codes on the components indicated that over three-quarters were produced between 2021 and 2023, suggesting that the missile could not have been assembled before March last year.

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Sanctions experts noted that the findings underscore the difficulty of controlling the export of commercial electronic components and the reliance of countries like North Korea, Russia, and Iran on imported technology.

“North Korea (and Russia and Iran) are experts in avoiding U.N. and U.S. sanctions through front companies and other efforts,” said Anthony Ruggiero of Washington’s Foundation for Defense of Democracies think tank, who directed North Korea sanctions efforts in the Trump administration.

Martyn Williams from 38 North, a North Korea-focused project based in Washington, mentioned that numerous components manufactured by U.S. companies were readily accessible online or in electronics markets worldwide.

Why It Matters: This revelation comes amid a series of developments involving North Korea, Russia, and the U.S.. In January, it was reported that North Korea’s economy was experiencing a quiet resurgence due to its arms sales to Russia, potentially reducing the likelihood of a military conflict.

Additionally, the U.S. has expressed concern over North Korea’s growing arms trade and its potential impact on China, with a senior U.S. State Department official stating that it is “China’s problem” as well.

Furthermore, in October, the U.S. condemned North Korea’s alleged military support to Russia, emphasizing the potential escalation of the Ukraine conflict and the risk to innocent lives.

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