Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

UN Report Identifies North Korean Missile in Ukraine

Tue 30 Apr 2024 | 08:25 PM

In a startling revelation, debris from a missile that impacted the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv on January 2, 2024, has been identified as originating from a North Korean Hwasong-11 series ballistic missile, according to a United Nations report. This finding underscores a critical violation of the international arms embargo against North Korea and raises significant concerns about the involvement of Russian forces.

The 32-page report, which was disclosed to a Security Council committee and subsequently seen by Reuters, detailed the analysis conducted by UN sanctions monitors. They unequivocally confirmed that the missile remains recovered in Kharkiv were from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Hwasong-11 series, contravening the long-standing arms embargo imposed on the country since 2006.

In an investigation that saw three UN sanctions monitors travel to Ukraine to inspect the missile debris, the team established that the missile was not of Russian manufacture. However, they were unable to conclusively determine the launch origin or the responsible parties. Notably, information provided by Ukrainian authorities suggested that the missile was launched from within Russian territory.

"If indeed controlled by Russian forces, the launch location likely points to procurement by nationals of the Russian Federation," the monitors stated in their April 25 report to the Security Council’s North Korea sanctions committee. Such actions, if verified, would represent a direct violation of the 2006 arms embargo against North Korea.

This development comes amidst repeated accusations from the United States and other nations against North Korea for allegedly supplying weapons to Russia for its military actions in Ukraine. Both Russia and North Korea have previously denied these allegations but have expressed intentions to strengthen their military cooperation.

The incident has sparked an international outcry, especially as Russia last month vetoed the annual renewal of the UN panel of experts responsible for monitoring the enforcement of sanctions against North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs. The current mandate for this panel is set to expire imminently.

Following the January 2 attack, the Kharkiv region prosecutor's office presented fragments of the missile to the media, noting its dissimilarity to Russian models and speculating on its North Korean origins. This recent confirmation from UN monitors not only substantiates those claims but also highlights a worrying dimension of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, implicating international sanctions violations and deepening geopolitical tensions.