Russian-launched North Korean KN-23 (Hwasong-11) missiles explode mid-air

The Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine has disclosed that approximately half of the North Korean missiles fired by Russia toward Ukraine from December to February 2024 detonated in the atmosphere.

The investigation, conducted by Ukraine, analyzed debris from 21 out of the 50 North Korean ballistic missiles launched by Russia over the span of two months, aiming to assess the threat posed by Moscow’s collaboration with Pyongyang.

“Approximately half of the North Korean missiles deviated from their programmed trajectories and exploded in the air; in such cases, the debris was not recovered,” the prosecutor’s response to the agency’s inquiry stated.

The last recorded use of Russia’s KN-23 (Hwasong-11) missiles was on February 27. Since December 30, 2023, a total of 24 people have lost their lives, and 115 others have been injured as a result of the missile strikes on Ukraine. The Office of the Prosecutor General did not specify whether any of the missiles were intercepted by air defense systems.

On May 1, the Center for Strategic Communications and Information Security under the Ministry of Culture in Telegram asserted that Russia was conducting tests of North Korean-manufactured missiles in Ukraine.

“Russia is testing North Korean missiles in Ukraine just as it tested Shahab missiles for Iran before they were used against Israel,” the statement read.

In early January, John Kirby, a spokesperson for the U.S. National Security Council, stated that Russia had launched strikes on Ukraine using North Korean ballistic missiles on December 30, 2023, as well as on January 2 and 6, 2024.

On January 6, according to the White House, Russia once again fired several North Korean missiles at Ukraine.

South Korea’s representative to the UN, Hwang Joon-kook, asserted that North Korea is utilizing Ukraine as a “testing ground” for testing ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

Ukraine’s Prosecutor General, Andriy Kostin, announced on January 11 that the Prosecutor General’s Office had obtained initial evidence of Russia’s use of North Korean missiles.

North Korea dismissed U.S. accusations of supplying Russia with ballistic missiles for the war against Ukraine as “baseless.”

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