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Moscow releases $9M of frozen assets to North Korea in exchange for weapons: report

Russia has released millions of dollars in frozen financial assets to North Korea in exchange for weapons, according to reports.

Approximately $9 million has been unfrozen following the provision of arms for the Russian invasion of Ukraine, according to a report from The New York Times.

The report cited multiple intelligence officials from the United States and United Kingdom.

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Putin Kim

This pool image distributed by Sputnik agency shows Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un shaking hands during their meeting at the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Amur region. (Photo by Vladimir SMIRNOV / POOL / AFP)

The $9 million is only a fraction of approximately $30 million of frozen North Korean assets held in a private Russian financial institution.

The unnamed intelligence officers told the New York Times that the released money would likely be used to purchase crude oil.

They also claimed to the newspaper that North Korean front companies have opened further accounts in banks based in the state of South Ossetia in the Caucus region.

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Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, meets with Russian Academy of Sciences President Gennady Krasnikov at the Kremlin in Moscow on Jan. 30, 2024. (Gavriil Grigorov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

The reported financial cooperation is only the latest in an extensive cooperative effort documented between the ruling North Korean regime and Moscow.

North Korea has been accused of providing the Russian military with a steady supply of weaponry, aiding their ongoing assault on neighboring Ukraine, while Russia has been accused of violating financial aid sanctions on Kim Jong Un’s regime.

The United States and South Korea have officially claimed North Korea is providing Russia with weaponry, including artillery and missiles, to help refill its supplies drained by its war in Ukraine. In return, North Korea allegedly receives technological and military insights.

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Seoul TV North Korea missile launch

A TV screen shows a report of North Korea’s cruise missiles with file footage during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

A United Kingdom-based investigative group Conflict Armament Research claimed last month a Russian missile fired into Ukraine was marked with a Korean character.

Conflict Armament Research (CAR) documented their findings in a report, saying a piece of wreckage from the ballistic projectile was marked by hand in the foreign language.

“On a barometer documented in Ukraine on January 11, 2024, as part of the missile wreckage, CAR investigators observed a label with the handwritten Korean (Hangul) character ‘ㅈ’,” the report claimed.

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