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North Korea keeps shipping, Russia keeps shooting

Cartridges lie on the flags of Russia and North Korea. ​

Cartridges lie on the flags of Russia and North Korea.

IMAGO/Christian Ohde

For 20 months now, Russia has been shelling Ukraine nonstop — sometimes as often as 80,000 times a day. But even as the war grinds into a deepening stalemate, Western intelligence officials say the Kremlin still has the firepower to keep pounding Ukraine at least through the end of next year.


Estonia’s top defense spook said earlier this week that Russia has at least 4 million artillery shells in its arsenal, enough to hit Ukraine at the current rate of 10,000-15,000 times daily until New Year’s Eve 2025.

A big part of that stockpile has come from North Korea, which reportedly ramped up military cooperation with Russia after a September summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Western intelligence services believe, based on satellite imagery, that Pyongyang has recently sent as many as 500,000 pieces of ammunition to Russia.

Last week, US President Joe Biden asked Congress to approve another $61 billion in aid for Ukraine, more than half of which would reportedly go to military support.

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