Rail logistics remain “a vital component” in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the British Defense Ministry said Sunday in its daily intelligence update, adding that Russia uses its rail system for transportation of ammunition, armor, fuel and personnel into the country.
At the same time, it said, rail facilities in occupied parts of Ukraine are vulnerable to Ukrainian artillery, missiles and sabotage. The ministry said Russia “almost certainly” continues to maintain and improve its rail lines of communication.
In addition, the new railway line to Mariupol that Russia is building will shorten travel time for supplies to the Zaporizhzhia front, according to the ministry’s update.
The White House has accused North Korea of shipping weapons to Russia, near the Ukraine border. Its claims are based on an image released Friday showing a shipment from an ammunition depot in North Korea that was loaded onto a Russian-flagged ship before being moved by rail to a depot along Russia’s southwestern border. The delivery took place between Sept. 7 and Oct. 1, the U.S. says.
“We condemn the DPRK for providing Russia with this military equipment, which will be used to attack Ukrainian cities, kill Ukrainian civilians, and further Russia’s illegitimate war,” National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said Friday, using the abbreviation for North Korea’s formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Kirby has disclosed that in recent weeks, North Korea has provided Russia with “more than 1,000 containers of military equipment and munitions.”
He said that the U.S. believes North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is seeking sophisticated Russian weapons technologies in return for the munitions to boost North Korea’s military and nuclear program.
“This expanding military partnership between the DPRK and Russia, including any technology transfers from Russia to the DPRK, undermines regional stability and the global nonproliferation regime,” Kirby said.
He said Washington is in lockstep with allies and partners to counter arms deals between Russia and North Korea by sanctioning individuals and entities working to facilitate such arms deals.
“We will not allow the DPRK to aid Russia’s war machine in secret, and the world should know about the support that Russia may again provide the DPRK in return,” Kirby said.
North Korea Friday lambasted the arrival of a U.S. aircraft carrier battle group in South Korea, calling it “an undisguised military provocation” and proof that the U.S. plans an attack against it. North Korea threatened to respond in line with its escalatory nuclear doctrine that authorizes the preemptive use of nuclear weapons.
The U.S. has accused North Korea of previously providing ammunition, artillery shells and rockets to Russia. North Korea has previously denied providing weaponry to Moscow.