Recent satellite images show increased railway activity along the North Korean–Russian border, according to a study by a research organization in the United States. This seems to indicate that North Korea is supplying Russia with weapons.
There were rumors that North Korea planned to replenish Russia’s munition supplies, which had become depleted due to Russia’s prolonged conflict with Ukraine. Suspicions stirred after North Kim Jong Un visited Russia last month to meet with Putin and visit central military installations. Other countries’ officials believe Kim is considering trading the munition for sophisticated Russian armament technology to further his nuclear program.
A report published on Friday by the website Beyond Parallel, managed by the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank in Washington, DC, claims that North Korea’s supply of arms and munitions to Russia will likely cause a dramatic increase in rail traffic. Kim and Putin addressed the possibility of military exchanges and cooperation in the past.
However, because of the excessive use of tarps to cover the shipping crates/containers and equipment, the study states that it is impossible to identify what is witnessed at the Tumangang Rail Facility conclusively.
Satellite images captured a remarkable and unparalleled amount of freight railcar traffic at Tumangang on October 5. Photos reportedly show 73 railcars, but a look at satellite imagery over the past five years reveals there are likely no more than 20 railcars at this facility at any given time.
If North Korea and Russia go through with the rumored plan to transfer weapons in defiance of United Nations Security Council resolutions prohibiting any arms exchange with North Korea, the United States and South Korea have warned that there will be consequences.
Ammunition, artillery shells, and rockets, the bulk of which are likely copies of Soviet-period weaponry, have been suspected of coming from North Korea to Russia by the United States since last year.