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North Korea suspended supply of ammunition to Russia by sea

North Korea suspended supply of ammunition to Russia by sea Photo: North Korean ballistic missile KN-23 (photo from open sources)

North Korea may have halted the shipment of ammunition to the Russian Federation by sea. The operation was likely suspended due to a production stoppage in North Korea or other logistical issues, according to the North Korean portal NK Pro.

The publication notes that over the past few weeks, vessels carrying ammunition have not appeared in Russian ports. The reasons could be production issues or other factors.

According to the portal, four ships - Angara, Maia-1, Maria, and Lady R - transported ammunition to Russia, completing at least 32 trips. The last visit to the North Korean port of Rason by the Maia-1 was on February 12, and Lady R on February 4. During this time, North Korea also did not deliver containers to the export dock.

КНДР призупинила постачання боєприпасів Росії морським шляхом, - NK Pro

Map: NK Pro (

According to the source, containers delivered by the ships Maia-1 and Lady R in early February have remained on the pier for the past few weeks. This indicates that "they are empty or there is no urgency to deliver them to destinations in North Korea."

Satellite images also indicate that containers have not been transported by rail to the Rason port from the internal regions of North Korea.

"It’s possible the operation has paused due to production holdups inside North Korea or other logistical issues. It also cannot be ruled out that weapons are being transferred to Russia by air or by rail over the two countries’ shared land border," the material notes.

NK Pro found a similar pattern for the vessel Lady R. On February 27, it was anchored east of Vladivostok. The ships involved in the North Korea-Russia operation do not activate the Automatic Identification System (AIS) during all departures to avoid detection.

Military cooperation between North Korea and Russia

North Korea is claimed to be an ally of Russia in the war against Ukraine.

Recently, the US State Department reported that since September 2023, North Korea has supplied over ten thousand containers of ammunition or materials related to ammunition to Russia.

It was also reported that North Korea sent several million artillery ammunition to Russia.

On February 28, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) released a report stating that analysts have identified the supply route of ammunition from North Korea to Russia through satellite images taken since August 2023. This route could have transported over 2.5 million artillery shells and other ammunition.

According to the Prosecutor General's Office, as of February 16, Russians had reportedly fired at least 24 North Korean ballistic missiles at Ukraine.