North Korea’s Kim Jong-un meets Vladimir Putin at the Vostochny Cosmodrome in southeast Russia, September 13, 2023

Thursday’s Coverage: Largest POW Swap During Russia’s Invasion

Map: Institute for the Study of War


The Ukraine military says it inflicted “serious damage” on Russia’s defense systems in occupied Crimea on Thursday, during an attack on a military command post on Thursday.

Ukraine Air Force commander Mykola Oleshchuk posted on social media, “Thanks to the air force pilots and everyone who planned the operation for perfect combat work.”


Nepal has halted the issuance of permits for its citizens to work in Russia and Ukraine.

At least 10 Nepali soldiers have been killed while serving in the Russian military during Vladimir Putin’s invasion.


The Ukraine Air Force says air defenses downed 21 of 29 Iran-made Shahed attack drones launched by Russia overnight.

The drones were downed throughout Ukraine in the Mykolaiv, Kherson, Dnipropetrovsk, Cherkasy, Kirovohrad and Khmelnytskyi regions.


Local officials say Ukraine again shelled Belgorod in Russia, 40 miles north of the Ukrainian border, overnight.

Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said three people suffered shrapnel wounds, with windows shattered in several apartments and more than 30 cars damaged.

The Russian Defence Ministry claimed 36 Ukraine drones were intercepted over Crimea and one over the Krasnodar region inside Russia. It also claimed a Ukrainian Neptune anti-ship missile was downed over the northwestern Black Sea.


Germany has sent Ukraine another package of military assistance.

The aid includes a Skynex air defense system; missiles for the IRIS-T SLM air defense system; ten Marder infantry fighting vehicles; two Wisent 1 mine clearing tanks; a Beaver bridge-laying tank with spare parts; ammunition for Leopard 2 A6 tanks; two TRML-4D air surveillance radars; 30 drone detection systems; ten GO12 ground surveillance radars; and almost 10,000 rounds of 155mm artillery ammunition.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: Russia is using North Korean ballistic missiles amid its attempt to break Ukraine’s infrastructure and resistance, say US officials.

US National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told reporters that the Russian have used “at least several” missiles received from Pyongyang:

As Russia continues to launch these brutal attacks, the United States has new information to share: about the support that Russia is receiving from third countries….

Due in part to our sanctions and export controls, Russia has become increasingly isolated on the world stage, and they’ve been forced to look to like-minded states for military equipment. As we’ve been warning publicly, one of those states is North Korea.

Kirby said a North Korean ballistic missile landed in an open field in the Zaporizhzhia region in southern Ukraine on December 30. Three days later, Russian forces fired more missiles, whose impact is being assessed.

The spokesperson said the range of the North Korean missiles is 560 miles (900 km). In return for their provision, Russia is expected to supply North Korea with fighter jets, surface-to-air missiles, armored vehicles, ballistic missile production equipment, and other advanced technologies.

Russia has escalated its daily missile and drone assaults against energy infrastructure and other civilian sites. The largest missile attack of its 22-month invasion was on December 29, when 117 were fired along with dozens of Iran-made attack drones.

Iran Missiles on Way to Russia?

As Russia tried both to sustain its aerial attacks and prevent a Ukrainian advance on the ground, reports of North Korean support to Moscow circulated this summer. They were confirmed in September as North Korean leader Kim Jong-un visited Vladimir Putin in eastern Russia.

US officials also said that Russia is in talks with Iran, which has supplied thousands of Shahed “kamikaze” drones, to buy short-range ballistic missiles. Their intelligence assessment is that Iranian missiles have not yet been delivered, but that the deal will eventually be completed.

Kirby said the US will sanction those involved in the missile deliveries. The issue of North Korea’s provision will be taken to the UN as a violation of the international arms embargo on Pyongyang.

He said the development should remind Congress, where Republicans are blockading further aid to Ukraine, as reminder of the consequences.

Iran and [North Korea] are standing with Russia. Ukrainians deserve to know that the American people and this government will continue to stand with them.

So it’s critical that Congress meets this moment and responds by providing Ukraine with what they need to defend themselves. The time for Congress to act is now.