A train crossed from North Korea into Russia on Friday, two days after the United States said it had information indicating Pyongyang is covertly supplying Russia with artillery shells for its war in Ukraine, a Washington think tank said, citing commercial satellite imagery.
The 38 North project, which monitors North Korean developments, said it was the first time such a train movement had been observed on the route in several years, although Russia’s veterinary service reported on Wednesday that a train had crossed the border into North Korea carrying horses.
“It is impossible to determine the purpose of the train from the imagery, but the crossing comes amid reports of arms sales from North Korea to Russia and a general expectation of the resumption of trade between the two countries,” 38 North said.
It said 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 a.m. local time (0124 GMT) a three-car set of enclosed railcars was visible on the Korean side of the border, and by 1:10 p.m. local time (0410 GMT) it appeared to be in Russia behind a locomotive, about 200 meters (yards) from the end of the railway bridge.
At 2:29 p.m. (0529 GMT) the locomotive and three railcars were visible on tracks at Russia’s Khasan Station, approximately 2 km (1.2 miles) from the border, and three smaller covered railcars, or possible containers on flatcars, were parked alongside the newly arrived train on an adjacent track.
Meanwhile, the US is sending Ukraine $400 million more in military aid and establishing a security assistance headquarters in Germany that will oversee all weapons transfers and military training for Ukraine, the Pentagon announced Friday.
Notably, the $400 million in aid includes funding for additional air defenses to help Ukraine better defend itself against escalating Russian missile and drone attacks that have badly damaged the country’s power and water infrastructure.— Agencies