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 indicating Pyongyang was covertly supplying Russia with artillery shells and mortars for its war in Ukraine, a Washington think tank said. citing commercial satellite imagery.

Project 38 North, which monitors North Korea’s progress, said it was the first time such a train movement had been observed on the route in several years, although the Russian Veterinary Service reported on Wednesday that a train had crossed the border into North Korea carrying horses. .

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

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

The report said that at 10:24 am local time (0124 GMT) a group of three covered railway cars was seen on the Korean side of the border, and by 1:10 pm local time (0410 GMT) it was seen in Russia behind the locomotive, about about 200 meters (yards) from the end of the railway bridge.

At 14:29 (0529 GMT) a locomotive and three wagons were seen on the tracks at Russia’s Khasan Station, about 2 km (1.2 miles) from the border, and three smaller covered wagons, or possibly containers on flatbeds, parked at side of the road the new train arrived on the adjacent track.

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“Whether a transfer of material is taking place cannot be determined, and the parked location of this train set may not be related,” the report said.

The White House said Wednesday that Washington has information showing North Korea is secretly supplying Russia with “significant” amounts of artillery shells for its war in Ukraine and is trying to block shipments by pushing them to countries in the Middle East and North Africa. .

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

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

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is known as a keen horseman. He was shown in 2019 by the North Korean media riding a white horse through the snow of the mountains. Russian customs data show North Korea has spent thousands of dollars on native horses from Russia in previous years.

Reporting by David Brunnstrom; Editing by Daniel Wallis

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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