Russia strikes Ukraine with North Korean KN-23 ballistic missiles

The Ukrainian outlet Defense Express released a report suggesting that Russia used North Korean KN-23 ballistic missiles during massive attacks on December 29, 2023, targeting Zaporizhzhia, and on January 2, 2024, aimed at Kharkiv.

According to their report, Defense Express received confirmation from its sources that collected and analyzed debris from several missiles used in the January 2, 2024, attack in Kharkiv, pointing specifically to the North Korean KN-23 missile.

A recent official statement from Washington on January 4 acknowledged Russia’s use of North Korean missiles without specifying the exact type. This marks the second instance, as reported by the White House, following the attack on December 29, 2023, when another North Korean ballistic missile landed in a field near Zaporizhzhia.

While ongoing analysis of the missile fragments shows significantly less damage than expected from the KN-23, known to carry a 500-kilogram warhead, Defense Express questions the precision, especially considering the missile’s impact in a field.

In November, South Korean agency Renhap hinted at Pyongyang potentially supplying Moscow with short-range tactical missiles, raising concerns about such collaborations.

Known as KN-23 in Western naming conventions, the North Korean tactical missile system bears resemblance to Russian “Iskander” systems, boasting an estimated range of around 700 kilometers.

The KN-23 dimensions are evaluated at 7.5 meters in length, 0.95 meters in diameter, and a total weight of 3415 kilograms. The existence of modern targeting systems remains debatable. There’s a substantiated belief that the KN-23 design heavily borrows from Russian technologies, sharing similarities with the 9M723 Iskander missile system.

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