The alternative arms market moves in Ukraine: the arsenal that arrives from Pakistan, Iran and North Korea

A Ukrainian soldier testing a missile recently arrived at the front. Kyiv’s forces are receiving artillery weaponry from an unlikely ally: Pakistan. (Reuters)

Both Russian and Ukrainian forces engage in an intense artillery battle that forces them to search for new sources of supply. Russia is buying ammunition from Pyongyang and drones from Tehran, while Ukraine has turned to Islamabad for its Soviet-era weapons..

According to intelligence information revealed Tuesday by the New York Times, Russia is ‘in the process of obtaining millions of rockets and artillery shells’ from North Korea to supply his troops in the Ukraine. Although no evidence or details of the supplied materials were given, it is known that Pyongyang has the capacity to produce 152mm shells, one of the calibers used by the Russian forces, as well as projectiles for TOS-1 multiple rocket launcherswhich were already used on the Ukrainian front.

In mid-July, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan also said that Washington had information that Iran was “preparing to supply up to several hundred drones to Russia on an accelerated basis.” In those days, Vladimir Putin visited Tehran and other high-level meetings between officials of the two countries were recorded. “Russian transport planes picked up drones at an Iranian airfield and flew them to Russia on dozens of flights that were recorded in August,” Pentagon spokesman Gen. Pat Ryder confirmed last week.

Ukraine weapons
Both Russian and Ukrainian forces engage in an intense artillery battle that forces them to search for new sources of supply. (AFP)

These Kremlin movements were better known. The novelty is that Ukraine is also turning to the alternative arms market. Beyond the sophisticated arsenal it continues to receive from the United States and Europe to defend itself against the Russian invasion, the Kyiv government needs conventional artillery and found an ally in Pakistan to sell it. According to documents published on August 30 by the Ukrainian website @UAWeapons, which tracks weapons used on the front lines by both sides, Ukrainian forces are firing Pakistani-made projectiles at Russians. Images and videos recovered from the front line and spread on social media show Ukrainian soldiers handling 122mm shells marked Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF), which is none other than Islamabad’s leading weapons manufacturer.

Deliveries of materials are being made in triangulated flights in which the British Royal Air Force also participates. He departs from the Nur Khan airbase in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, stops at Romania’s Avram Iancu Cluj International Airport, and arrives at the Akrotiri base in Cyprus, from where he is eventually sent to the Ukrainian front. The flights are carried out by a special aircraft C-17A that can carry 77,500 kilograms of cargo in a single trip and it is believed that in the last two weeks he made six trips.

Ukrainian generals have been saying that the best help they can get is 155mm artillery ammunition.. The United States has recently shipped 75,000 cartridges to Ukraine. Guess who else makes that ammunition: The Pakistan Ordinance Factory,” the Intel Consortium specializing in defense issues published in a tweet after it was deleted. “Pakistan also has more than 320 Ukrainian T-80UD tanks in service.and a fully developed ecosystem of its maintenance, operation, ammunition, and spare parts that could return to the hands of their original owners,” the account further stated.

Ukraine Weapons
Ukrainian soldiers fire an M777 rocket launcher at Russian positions in Donetsk. Now, Ukraine is also receiving weapons from Pakistan. (Tyler Hicks/The New York Times) (TYLER HICKS/)

Officially, the United Kingdom sent Ukraine three M270 multiple launch rocket systems with M31A1 precision munitions, 5,000 light anti-tank weapons, hundreds of Brimstone missiles, 120 armored personnel carriers, T-150 heavy-lift unmanned aerial vehicles, six air defense systems, including Starstreak missiles, and six Stormer vehicles. To this, now, is added the help he is giving so that Pakistani ammunition also arrives at the front.

The close relationship between Ukraine and Pakistan has its history. Last year, Islamabad and Kyiv agreed to enhance their military ties, especially in the areas of defense production, training, anti-terrorist activities and intelligence.. Basically, the Pakistanis were looking for an alliance for the transfer of technology and the creation of joint ventures. Between 1991 and 2020, Ukraine and Pakistan signed contracts worth nearly $1.6 billion in terms of weapons. Consistent with these agreements were international diplomatic support. Ukraine was among the countries that opposed nuclear tests by India – Pakistan’s arch-enemy – in 1998 and criticized India’s actions in the UN Security Council after the 1998 nuclear tests.

Iran‘s agreement with Russia is also very broad. western intelligence agencies They detected the shipment by Tehran of ground-attack drones, such as the Shahed-129, a device that can fly up to twenty-four hours continuouslys and which is considered a competitor to the American Predator, or the Mohajer-6, a smaller flying object, capable of carrying up to four rounds of ammunition. According to the US Department of Defense, these drones have not yet reached the front lines because They have numerous flaws. that the Russians are trying to solve.

Baykar Turkish Defense company's Bayraktar TB2 drone during an exhibition this week in Kielce, <a class=Poland. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel” height=”2008″ src=”” width=”3000″ />
Baykar Turkish Defense company’s Bayraktar TB2 drone during an exhibition this week in Kielce, Poland. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel (KACPER PEMPEL/)

Drones have become essential elements on any battlefield. “A war without drones is no longer possible”said Haluk Bayraktar, Turkey’s largest manufacturer of these craft, in an interview with Nikkei Asia. He also added that those who do not use drones effectively will lose. Bayraktar’s TB2 drones have proven their effectiveness, allowing the Ukrainian armed forces to stop Russia’s advance towards the capital, kyiv. Images of drones launching missiles destroying Russian tanks, vehicles and missile defense systems were widely shared on social media. It is possible that the same Turkish drones are now also in the hands of the Russians and that will make the Kremlin less dependent on Pakistan.

The provision of informal weapons is not only from other nations. A few months ago, Mohammad Zahoor, a Ukrainian billionaire born in Pakistan, bought two fighter jets to help Ukraine fight Russia. In May, Zahoor purchased the two Soviet-made planes from an Eastern European country with the help of its business partners.

The global organizations that promote disarmament are warning that all these military alliances and the widespread exchange of weapons are very dangerous because nobody controls the final destination of the arsenal. And at the United Nations and Washington, emphasis was placed this week on the implications of Russia’s military exchange with North Korea.

White House Security Council spokesman John Kirby said “All this indicates how desperate Putin is.” “He was buying drones from Iran, now he is going to buy artillery shells from North Korea. It is an indication of how much its defense industry is suffering as a result of this war and how desperately is turning to countries like Iran and North Korea for help”, he told reporters on Tuesday.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is cheered on by his troops during celebrations marking the 90th anniversary of the founding of the so-called
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is cheered on by his troops during celebrations marking the 90th anniversary of the founding of the so-called “people’s republic.” Now Kim is sending weapons to Russia and offering to rebuild occupied parts of Ukraine. Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) (KCNA/)

North Korea grew closer to Russia as much of Europe and the West pulled away. The North Koreans have hinted at their interest in sending construction workers to help rebuild Russian-occupied territories in the east of the country. The Pyongyang regime’s ambassador to Moscow recently met with envoys from the two Russian-backed breakaway territories in Ukraine’s Donbas region and expressed optimism about cooperation in the “field of labor migration,” citing the easing of controls. borders of your country. In July, North Korea became the only nation apart from Russia and Syria to recognize the independence of the Donetsk and Luhansk enclaves.

The North Korean provocation comes as the Joe Biden administration is increasingly concerned about the Kim Jong-un regime’s increased activity in pursuit of nuclear weapons. He has already launched more than 30 ballistic missiles this yearincluding the first from intercontinental missiles since 2017. Some analysts believe that Kim is likely to strengthen his decision to keep his nuclear weapons because he may think that the Russian attack came about because Ukraine had given up its nuclear arsenal.

Putin, and Kim recently exchanged letters in which both asked a “comprehensive” and “strategic and tactical” cooperation between their countries. Moscow, for its part, issued statements condemning the resumption of large-scale military exercises between the United States and South Korea this year, which North Korea considers an invasion rehearsal.

Soldiers from the 436th Aerial Port Squadron at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware prepare a shipment of weapons bound for Ukraine.  Air Force/Mauricio Campino/Handout via REUTERS
Soldiers from the 436th Aerial Port Squadron at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware prepare a shipment of weapons bound for Ukraine. Air Force/Mauricio Campino/Handout via REUTERS (US AIR FORCE/MAURICIO CAMPINO/)

Also, Russia, along with China, has called for the easing of UN sanctions imposed on North Korea over its missile and nuclear tests.. Both countries are members of the UN Security Council, which has approved a total of 11 rounds of sanctions against North Korea since 2006. In May, Russia and China vetoed a US-led proposal to impose new economic sanctions on North Korea due to to its high-profile missile tests this year.

Close relations between Moscow and Pyongyang date back to the founding of North Korea in 1948, when Soviet officials installed ambitious young nationalist Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Un’s late grandfather, as the country’s first ruler. Since then, Soviet aid shipments had been crucial in keeping the North Korean economy afloat for decades, before the disintegration of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. Since then, Moscow had established formal diplomatic relations with Seoul as part of its hopes of attracting South Korean investment and allowed its Soviet-era military alliance with North Korea to expire. But after his rise to power in 2000, Putin actively tried to restore his country’s ties with North Korea., in what was considered an effort to recover its traditional domains of influence and gain more allies to confront the United States. Now, he receives the North Korean compensation in the form of artillery.


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