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Feb 16, 2024 | In The News

Daily Mail

A group of lawmakers is sounding the alarm to the State Department about arms transfers between North Korea and Russia.

The letter, led by Republican Reps. Young Kim, Calif., Tom Kean, N.J., Joe Wilson, S.C., and Nathaniel Moran, Texas, is asking the Biden administration for answers on whether North Korea’s sale of arms to Russia could mean Moscow is assisting Pyongyang in its quest for nuclear and advanced ballistic weapons. 

It comes after Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK) agreed to sell arms to Russia, which has since used Korean ballistic missiles to bomb Ukraine. The DPRK has since offered ammunition and artillery shells too.

The United Nations has warned that North Korea is seeking military assistance from nuclear-armed Russia in response. Russia has been a part of the UN National Security Council’s imposing of an arms embargo on Pyongyang for its missile test since 2006, but is now violating the embargo.

Russia has fired at least 24 ballistic missiles of North Korean origin at Ukraine since late December, according to Ukrainian Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin.

North Korea has recently tested nuclear capable strategic cruise missiles and advanced ballistic missiles that could put U.S. military bases in the region at risk. In September North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Vladimir Putin held a meeting in Russia’s far east, and Russian officials have visited Pyongyang multiple times.

The letter asked the State Department to reveal whether it was ‘concerned’ Russia will provide advanced ballistic missile and cruise missile technology to the DPRK, or whether they were aware of Russia doing so already.

The lawmakers requested a briefing on the matter and a written response to their questions by March 1.

Russian dissident Alexei Navalny died in Russian prison, reports revealed Friday. It comes after earlier this week Intelligence Chairman Mike Turner revealed a pressing national security threat that was later confirmed to be related to Russian anti-satellite capabilities.

A U.S. intelligence official told the New York Times the U.S. does not have the capability to defend its satellites from such a Russian, nuclear-capable weapon.

It also asked:  

‘Is your Department aware of any Russian plans or past activity to provide technology, materials, design data, and/or technical knowledge to advance the DPRK’s nuclear weapons program? What actions is the State Department taking to block the DPRK Russian trade of advanced weapons? Is your Department engaging with allies and partners with a shared interest in nonproliferation of this technology about these concerns?’

The House is now locked in a contentious debate over how and whether to move forward with Ukraine aid. After House Speaker Mike Johnson declared a $95 billion foreign aid package ‘dead on arrival,’ a bipartisan group of lawmakers on Friday released their own $66 billion, defense-only aid package with border security provisions. 

Meanwhile, Moscow has already shown how it can be lethal from space by testing a hit-to-kill anti-satellite missile in 2021.

Russia smashed a defunct spy satellite launched in 1982 into 1,500 pieces of debris in the strike and sparked fury around the world.

In 2020, Moscow fired an anti-satellite weapon from its Cosmos 2543 satellite while in orbit.

Vladimir Putin has also threatened the West with his deadliest hypersonic missile yet that could speed into space and hit multiple targets on the ground.

The nuclear-capable Avangard missile, which is reported to be able hit targets at 27 times the speed of sound, is seen in new footage installed in an underground launch silo in Russia’s Orenburg region.

The 20,000mph missile with a hypersonic glide vehicle will be able to leave the earth’s atmosphere before striking any target in the world in less than 30 minutes, according to Moscow.

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