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Washington: North Korea is providing Russia with a significant number of artillery shells to use in the ongoing war in Ukraine, the United States has claimed.

“Our information indicates that the DPRK (North Korea) is covertly supplying Russia’s war in Ukraine with a significant number of artillery shells, while obfuscating the shipments, by making it appear they are going to countries in the Middle East and North Africa,” White House Strategic Communications Coordinator John Kirby told reporters on a call.

The number of shells that North Korea is allegedly sending to Russia is “not insignificant,” but the White House does not believe the supplies can tangibly change the direction of the conflict in Ukraine, Kirby said.

“We don’t believe that the material he [Russian President Vladimir Putin] is currently getting or going to get is going to change the outcome on the battlefield in any appreciable way,” he said.

White House Strategic Communications Coordinator said the US will raise the issue during consultations with its allies and partners, and will also do so at the United Nations regarding undertaking any additional accountability measures against North Korea.

Last month, the United States said it saw indications that Russia approached North Korea to purchase ammunition. In addition, US media reported, citing Biden administration officials, that Moscow is looking to buy artillery shells as well as missiles from Pyongyang.

Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia has since denied the claims.

This comes as increased escalating tensions in the Korean peninsula as North Korea launched nearly two dozen missiles on Wednesday, including one that landed near South Korean waters.

North Korea carried out a record number of weapons tests in 2022 in the face of pressure from the Biden administration.

The US and South Korean forces earlier this week conducted joint air exercises, which North Korea described the drills as a “ceaseless and reckless” provocation.

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