Train crosses North Korea border into Russia after arms report, think tank says

WASHINGTON, Nov 4 (Reuters) – A train crossed from North Korea to Russia on Friday, two days after the United States said it had information suggesting Pyongyang was secretly supplying Russia with artillery shells for its war in Ukraine, a Washington think tank said. Refer to commercial satellite imagery.

The 38 North Project, which monitors developments in North Korea, said it was the first time train traffic had been observed on the route in several years, although Russia’s veterinary service reported on Wednesday that it had crossed the North Korean border carrying horses. .

“It is impossible to determine the train’s purpose from the imagery, but the crossing comes amid reports of arms sales from North Korea to Russia and general anticipation of the resumption of trade between the two countries,” 38 North said.

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It said North Korea closed the 800-meter (yard) Tumangang Friendship Bridge (Korea-Russia Friendship Bridge), the only land link between the countries, during the COVID-19 pandemic in February 2020.

At 10:24 a.m. local time (0124 GMT), three car sets of surrounded railcars were visible on the Korean side of the border and by 1:10 p.m. local time (0410 GMT), the report said. Russia behind the engine about 200 meters (yards) from the end of the railway bridge.

At 2:29 p.m. (0529 GMT) a locomotive and three railcars were seen on the tracks at Russia’s Khasan station, approximately 2 km (1.2 miles) from the border, and three small covered railcars or flatcars with possible containers parked nearby. A newly arrived train on the side track.

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“It could not be determined whether the transfer of goods was in progress and the halting locations of these train sets may be unrelated,” the report said.

The White House said on Wednesday that Washington has information that North Korea is secretly supplying Russia with a “significant” number of artillery shells for its war in Ukraine and is trying to obscure the shipment through countries in the Middle East and North Africa. .

North Korea said in September that it had never supplied Russia with arms or ammunition and had no plans to do so. Read more

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Russia and North Korea have resumed rail travel to North Korea with a cargo of 30 gray “Orlov Trotter” horses for the first time since the pandemic, according to a statement from Russia’s State Veterinary Service on Wednesday.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is known as an avid horseman. In 2019 North Korean media showed a white stallion trekking through mountain snow. Russian customs data show that North Korea has spent thousands of dollars on thoroughbred horses from Russia in previous years.

Reporting by David Brunstrom; Edited by Daniel Wallis

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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