Vladimir Putin hosts North Korean Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui, Moscow, Russia, January 16, 2024 (Artem Geodakyan/Sputnik)
Map: Institute for the Study of War
UPDATE 1548 GMT:
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy says he had “very productive talks” with Poland Prime Minister Donald Tusk in Kyiv.
Today, we had very productive talks in Kyiv with @DonaldTusk about all aspects of Ukrainian-Polish bilateral relations.
We appreciate Poland's unwavering support and the new military aid package for Ukraine, as well as a new form of cooperation aimed at larger-scale arms… pic.twitter.com/m5QCm67acD
— Volodymyr Zelenskyy / Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) January 22, 2024
Tusk took office last month, with his Government replacing that of the hard-right Law and Justice Party.
He said earlier on Monday, as he met Ukraine Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, that there was nothing more important than support for Ukraine against Russia’s invasion.
While there were “some conflicts of interest”, the two sides would work “in a spirit of friendship to resolve any differences as quickly as possible”, Tusk said.
Ukraine Defense Minister Rustam Umerov spoke by phone with Belgian counterpart Ludivine Dedonder.
Had a productive phone call with the Minister of Defence of Belgium, Ludivine Dedonder @DedonderLudivin.
Discussed the recent developments on the front lines and the prospects of defence cooperation between our countries.
Grateful for Belgium’s participation in the air force… pic.twitter.com/eVDwEM5lff
— Rustem Umerov (@rustem_umerov) January 22, 2024
UPDATE 0831 GMT:
The Ukraine Air Force says air defenses downed all eight Iran-made attack drones fired by Russia overnight.
The UAVs were intercepted over southern and central Ukraine.
UPDATE 0720 GMT:
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has turned down a proposal for the mobilization of 500,000 men and women.
Zelenskiy told the UK’s Channel 4, “I have not yet seen enough clear details to say that half a million must be mobilized.”
On December 25, Zelenskiy’s Cabinet submitted a draft law to Parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, which proposed mobilization. The plan split Ukrainian politicians and society, and was sent back to the Government for revision on January 11.
Defense Minister Rustem Umerov says a new wording of the draft law has been prepared, taking into account proposals from MPs.
While rejecting the figure of 500,000 people, Zelenskiy indicated that mobilization is necessary:
The question of mobilization…is a question of justice. There are people who have been at war since Day 1, and the fact that they do not complain does not mean that there should be no opportunity for people to replace them, to give them a rest, to give more opportunities to those who were fighting during all these most powerful and most difficult months….
If there are not enough people, trained, professional, then it is necessary to give the military people a tool in the form of mobilization, so that they could mobilize a part of society and then train them – this is very important. They must be trained first. They must not be immediately sent to the battlefield, otherwise, they will have less chance to survive and this is wrong, this is completely wrong.
ORIGINAL ENTRY: The UK has sent satellite photographs of North Korean weapons shipments to Russia to a panel of UN experts.
London is seeking an official investigation into reports of North Korea’s supply of ballistic missiles and hundreds of thousands of artillery shells to Moscow, propping up the 23-month Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The arms deliveries would violate long-standing UN and international sanctions on North Korea, imposed over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programme.
North Korea’s provision of shells and missiles to Russia was reported last summer, as Moscow faced a Ukrainian counter-offensive which could liberate more territory in the east and south of the country. They were reinforced by Kim Jong-un meetings with Vladimir Putin in the far east of Russia in September.
Putin met North Korean Foreign Minister, Choe Son-hui, in the Kremlin last week during the Minister’s five-day trip to Russia. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the men discussed “further development of our relations in all areas, including sensitive ones”.
On Sunday, the North Korean Foreign Ministry said, Putin “expressed his willingness to visit [North Korea] at an early date”.
An unpublished UK defense intelligence report, seen by The Guardian, has satellite images of three Russian ships loading containers at North Korea’s revived Najin port between September and Noverber. The vessels then travelled to ports in far eastern Russia.
The British analysts could not identify what was in the containers, but the images complemented a US announcement that ballistic missiles from North Korea were by Russia in Ukraine earlier this month.
Eight members of the UN Security Council, including the UK and US, said in a statement: “[Russia’s] heinous attacks were conducted, in part, using ballistic missiles and ballistic missile launchers procured from [North Korea].”
A UN diplomat summarized:
Russia’s use of North Korean weapons in Ukraine is a violation of multiple UN security council resolutions. It undermines international efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and exposes just how desperate Russia has become in its failed invasion.
This and other evidence submitted to the UN sanctions committee should trigger a full investigation into Russia and DPRK’s [North Korea’s] flagrant breaking of international sanctions.
The UK, US, and other countries have submitted evidence to the UN panel on North Korean proliferation. Its experts are expected to publish a final report next month.
The ships in the British images — the Maia, Angara, and Maria — were sanctioned by the US in 2022 for over links to the Russian Defense Ministry’s shipping company, Oboronlogistika OOO, “involved in Russia’s illegal seizure and occupation of Crimea since 2014, as well as private Russian maritime shipping companies that transport weapons and other military equipment for the [Russian Government]”.
London’s Royal United Services Institute identified two of the three ships in report which revealed that “Russia has likely begun shipping North Korean munitions at scale”. The third vessel was identified by NK News, an independent news website focusing on North Korea, as “part of a group of commercial vessels that have completed multiple deliveries of military equipment and munitions provided by the DPRK to Russia”.
The missiles have been implicated in Russian strikes against Ukraine in December and January that killed dozens of people and injured hundreds. Prosecutors in Ukraine’s second city say suspected fragments of North Korean-made Iskander missiles have been sent to Kyiv for analysis.