At least one North Korean ballistic missile downed over Kyiv – report

Wreckage of a missile from the DPRK that was shot down over Kyiv
Wreckage of a missile from the DPRK that was shot down over Kyiv

During the recent missile strikes on Kyiv, Russia likely used at least one North Korean KN-23/KN-24 ballistic missile that was intercepted by air defenses, Ukrainian outlet Defense Express reported on Jan. 26.

Read also: North Korea now aiding overstretched Russia, stepping into role as top weapons provider — intel head

Having received photos of the fragments of the downed missile from Kyiv residents, the journalists were able to identify markings that are not used by the Russian military.

“Lengthy serial numbers on missile fuselages are characteristic only of North Korea,” the report says.

“By using long numbers, Pyongyang likely aims to create the illusion of possessing an extensive arsenal of such missiles. Russia, however, does not mark its missiles in this way.”

The article clarifies that conclusively identifying the fragments as either KN-23 or KN-24 is challenging as the debris were scattered over a wide area after the missile was intercepted.

“As with the North Korean missile strike on Kharkiv, identifying the fragments is further complicated by a lack of information; until now, such missiles from North Korea have not gone beyond its borders, except when they fell into the sea,” the journalists added.

White House National Security spokesman John Kirby said during a briefing on Jan. 4 that Russia was using North Korean ballistic missiles in Ukraine. The missiles were reportedly launched at Ukraine on Dec. 30, 2023, and Jan. 2. During the first attack, a North Korean missile landed in Zaporizhzhya Oblast, and on Jan. 2, Russia fired several such missiles, Kirby said.

South Korea's permanent representative to the UN, Hwang Joon-kook, said on Jan. 10 that North Korea is using Ukraine as a test site for ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

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