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Russia helps North Korea launch spy satellite – South Korea

North Korea is wrapping up preparations to launch a spy satellite. South Korea’s intelligence agency noted high chances of a successful launch.

The National Intelligence Service (NIS) also reported that North Korea had sent more than 10 shipments of ammunition to Russia for using in the war against Ukraine, including more than one million artillery shells, sufficient for two months, according to Yoo Sang-bum, a member of a parliamentary committee.

Yoo reported that North Korea had allegedly received technical assistance from Russia in exchange and was now checking the engine and launch mechanism of the rocket booster.

The deliveries were made by ships travelling between a North Korean port on the east coast and Russian ports, as well as by air from North Korea, the NIS reported.

North Korea is running its munition factories to full capacity to meet demand for military supplies to Russia and even mobilising residents and civilian factories to make ammunition boxes for exports.

North Korea had previously promised a third attempt in October, but has so far shown no signs that it was going to proceed with a launch. The country’s two previous attempts to launch its first reconnaissance satellite this year ended in failure due to malfunctioning of stages of the boosters.

The current launch is part of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s efforts to bolster his military capabilities, including long-range ballistic missiles, ballistic missile submarines and hypersonic missiles.

Kim met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in September in the Russian Far East, where he visited a modern Russian space launch station, prompting rumours that the Kremlin would help with space programme in exchange for arms and ammunition supplies.

North Korea still lacks financial resources and technical expertise in its satellite programme and does not yet appear to have mastered the re-entry technology for intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) warheads, Yoo claims.

South Korea, Japan and the United States have condemned North Korea’s supply of arms and military equipment to Russia, presenting what they say was evidence confirming the veracity of the shipments.

North Korea denies that it has supplied weapons to Russia and also rejects reports by some military experts that its weapons have been used by Hamas militants in fighting against Israel.

North Korea is also seen to be trying to use the Israel-Hamas war in a multifaceted way. Indications of Kim Jong-un’s order to look for ways to comprehensively support the Palestinians have been obtained.

The agency also reported that North Korea and China were behind more than 80 per cent of cyber-attacks targeting South Korea. The NIS and the FBI reported the freezing of assets equivalent to $3.45 million frozen as the result of hacking.

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