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Korean character spotted on missile Russia fired into Ukraine: report

By Yonhap

Published : Jan. 24, 2024 - 11:29

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This photo shows a Korean letter written on the remnants of a ballistic missile that struck Kharkiv, Ukraine, on Jan. 2, 2024. (Conflict Armament Research) This photo shows a Korean letter written on the remnants of a ballistic missile that struck Kharkiv, Ukraine, on Jan. 2, 2024. (Conflict Armament Research)

A handwritten Korean character was found on a ballistic missile Russia fired into Ukraine, a report showed Wednesday, adding to growing suspicions over arms transactions between North Korea and Russia amid their deepening military ties.

Earlier this month, the White House revealed that the North has provided Russia with several dozen ballistic missiles, some of which were used to strike Ukrainian targets in late December and early January.

"On a barometer documented in Ukraine on January 11, 2024 as part of the missile wreckage, CAR investigators observed a label with the handwritten Korean (Hangul) character 'ㅈ'," the report by the Britain-based Conflict Armament Research showed.

The organization, which conducted an analysis of the remnants of a ballistic missile that struck Ukraine's second-largest city Kharkiv on Jan. 2, however, said it did not spot additional Korean characters in other components.

Citing other findings, such as its distinct jet vane actuators, bolt pattern around the igniter and the repeated marking of the number 112, the report concluded the missile is likely a KN-23 or KN-23 that was manufactured in the North.

The repeated number appears to refer to the "February 11 plant" in North Korea, where such missiles are reportedly assembled, or to the year 2023 in the North's Juche calendar, it added.

"The Russian Federation's use of such missiles is another demonstration of its intent to sustain its war efforts in Ukraine, even at the cost of undermining global nonproliferation regimes," the report said.

The National Intelligence Service, South Korea's spy agency, has said that North Korean-made weapons are being used by the Hamas militant group in its war against Israel despite Pyongyang's repeated denial of its arms transactions. (Yonhap)