North Korea’s new multiple rocket launcher deployment poses potential threat to Ukraine

Kim Jong-un against the background of a new 240-mm multiple launch rocket system
Kim Jong-un against the background of a new 240-mm multiple launch rocket system

North Korea announced that it will put a new 240mm multiple launch rocket system into service with the army starting this year, which it will likely provide to Russia for use against Ukraine, the South Korean Yonhap news agency reported on May 11.

According to North Korean state media, the country’s leader Kim Jong-un watched the test of controllable rockets for a “technically updated version” of the 240-mm multiple launch rocket system. It is believed that this weapon system is aimed at the territory of the South Korean capital.

Observers note that Pyongyang seems to be accelerating the development of rocket launcher shells to provide them to Russia for use in the war against Ukraine, while testing them in real war conditions.

<span class="copyright">KCNA via REUTERS</span>

“The updated multiple rocket launcher with high mobility and concentration of fire has an automatic fire combined control system and will be deployed to units of the Korean People’s Army as replacement equipment from 2024 to 2026,” the North Korean propaganda media said.

Eight shells fired from the multiple launch rocket system allegedly hit “point” targets, and the test demonstrated its “destructive power.”

Read also: Half of North Korean missiles used by Russia fail mid-flight, Ukraine says

“Significant change will be soon made in increasing the artillery combat ability of our army,” Kim Jong-un said, calling for an increase in the production of shells and artillery weapons to the “highest level.”

North Korea announced in February that it had developed new “controllable” 240mm rocket launcher shells that could boost its weapons capabilities by increasing the range and accuracy of its rockets. Last month, the country tested new shells for this weapon system.

North Korean weapons in Russia’s war against Ukraine

In early January, U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said that Russia had struck Ukraine with North Korean ballistic missiles on Dec. 30, 2023, and Jan. 2 and 6, 2024.

Russia again fired several North Korean missiles at Ukraine on Jan. 6, according to the White House.

South Korea’s representative to the UN, Joonkook Hwang, said that North Korea was using Ukraine as a “testing ground” for ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin said on Jan. 11 that the Prosecutor General’s Office had received the first evidence of the Russian army’s use of missiles from North Korea.

North Korea previously called the American accusations that it had transferred ballistic missiles to Russia for the war against Ukraine “groundless.”

Read also: Russia used sanctioned North Korean missiles to attack Kharkiv, UN concludes

Ukraine’s SBU security service reported on Feb. 22 that it had documented the facts of Russian air attacks on Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure using North Korean weapons. According to the investigation, the Russian troops fired more than 20 North Korean munitions at Ukraine.

The Kharkiv Prosecutor’s Office said on March 14 that Russia had fired about 50 North Korean Hwasong-11 missiles at six regions of Ukraine. According to South Korea, Pyongyang has sent about 7,000 containers of ammunition and other military equipment to Russia since last year.

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