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According to the United States, Russia is using North Korean missiles in Ukraine.This is bad news for Asia

(CNN) — In the past week, Russia twice launched short-range ballistic missiles provided by North Korea into Ukraine, an “escalation” of Pyongyang’s support for Moscow, 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 told a White House press briefing that North Korean-made missiles were launched into Ukraine on December 30 and January 2. According to Kiev, at least 500 missiles and drones were launched towards Ukraine during the New Year holidays, including these missiles and drones.

He said the Dec. 30 attack consisted of a single missile that landed in a field, while Russia’s Jan. 2 attack involved multiple missiles. Kirby said the impact of the missiles launched on January 2 was still being assessed, adding that the missiles were part of a “large-scale” Russian attack.

“Partly as a result 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 told a news conference. “As we have been publicly warning, North Korea It’s one of those things.”

How does North Korea benefit?

Kirby and analysts interviewed by CNN said the introduction of North Korean weapons into the war in Ukraine would affect an area 7,500 kilometers east of the Korean Peninsula.

“There has been a significant and concerning escalation in North Korea’s support for Russia,” Kirby said, using the abbreviation for North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

“We expect that Russia and North Korea will learn lessons from these launches,” Kirby added.

Analysts echo that view, saying North Korea’s use of missiles on the battlefield in Ukraine could provide Pyongyang with data it cannot obtain from a testing program within the framework of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s missile program, which has seen dozens of weapons fired in recent years. .

“It will be interesting to see how these missiles perform in a more operational environment and outside of the North Korean propaganda machine, particularly any hint of accuracy and the guidance systems used,” Institute for Defense and Military Analyses said researcher Joseph Dempsey. 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 allowed North Korea to collect data on how it could breach defense systems similar to those used by South Korea and the United States. Can be deployed on the Korean Peninsula.

“From a technical perspective, I suspect the North Koreans will be very interested in seeing how their missiles stack up against Western missile defense systems,” he said.

Speaking at the White House, Kirby said the consequences for South Korea and the region went beyond Pyongyang’s ability to perfect its missile program.

“In exchange for its support, we assess that Pyongyang is seeking Russian military assistance, including fighter jets, surface-to-air missiles, armored vehicles, ballistic missile production equipment, military hardware and other advanced technology,” Kirby said.

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

Kirby noted that North Korea’s East Asian adversaries – particularly South Korea, the United States and Japan – are considered to have significant advantages over the isolated country.

For example, all three countries possess advanced F-35 stealth fighter jets, which would provide a huge advantage as they try to penetrate North Korea’s air defenses. But if Pyongyang acquires more modern Russian surface-to-air missiles equipped with advanced tracking radars, the F-35’s lead could shrink significantly.

Lee Jang-wook, a researcher at the Security and Strategy Center of the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses (KIDA), said Russia may also provide funds to Pyongyang.

Putinkin

Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin shake hands at the start of talks at the Vostok Cosmodrome in Russia’s Amur region on September 13, 2023. (Photo credit: Vladimir Smirnov/Sputnik/AP)

Advantages over Russia

“North Korea’s short-range ballistic missiles are unlikely to provide a qualitative advantage over Russia’s existing short-range ballistic missiles. Rather, the main benefit would be quantitative, by adding to Russia’s depleted missile inventory and providing additional supply lines,” Temple West said.

Panda said North Korea’s missiles “will enable Russia to continue conducting deep attacks without depleting its missile reserves.” Kirby said North Korean missiles have a range of up to 900 kilometers and can be launched from deep within Russian territory, while Moscow’s air defense systems can better protect the launchers from Ukrainian counterattacks.

North Korea’s supplies offer another advantage for Moscow, Panda said.

“Given the land border between Russia and North Korea, it is almost impossible for Western countries to stop the transfer as long as Pyongyang is willing to continue to cooperate with Russia,” he said.

For Ukraine, the outlook is worrying.

“We expect that Russia will use more North Korean missiles to attack Ukrainian civilian infrastructure and kill innocent Ukrainian civilians,” Kirby said.

CNN’s Soeun Kim contributed to this report.

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