Seoul, Oct 7 (EFE).- Satellite images show an “unprecedented” number of freight railcars on the border between Russia and North Korea following a summit between the countries’ leaders in which they discussed military cooperation.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un boards a train after a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Vostochny cosmodrome outside of the town of Tsiolkovsky (former Uglegorsk), some 180 km north of Blagoveschensk in Amur region, Russia, 13 September 2023. EFE-EPA FILE/PAVEL BYRKIN / SPUTNIK / KREMLIN POOL MANDATORY CREDIT
“Satellite imagery shows that starting five days after the summit, there has been a gradual but steady increase in the number of freight boxcars at North Korea’s Tumangang Rail Facility located on the North Korea-Russia border,” said a study and satellite photos published Friday by the specialist website Beyond Parallel, which revealed the presence of 73 freight railcars at the facility.
This is a much larger volume than observed at this station over the last five years, even taking into account pre-pandemic levels, according to the study on the website, attached to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington.
The satellite photographs from Oct. 5 follow last month’s summit held in Russia between President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in which they are believed to have addressed issues of military cooperation, although the details of their conversations and agreements have not emerged.
“Given that Kim and Putin discussed some military exchanges and cooperation at their recent summit, the dramatic increase in rail traffic likely indicates North Korea’s supply of arms and munitions to Russia,” the study says.
“However, the extensive use of tarps to cover the shipping crates/containers and equipment makes it impossible to conclusively identify what is seen at the Tumangang Rail Facility.”
Flags of North Korea (L) and Russia fly during a visit of Russian President Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to the Vostochny cosmodrome, outside the town of Tsiolkovsky (former Uglegorsk), some 180km north of Blagoveschensk in Amur region, Russia, 13 September 2023. EFE-EPA FILE/ARTEM GEODAKYAN/SPUTNIK/KREMLIN / POOL MANDATORY CREDIT
Seoul and Washington have criticized any possible arms exchange between Russia and North Korea and warned that it would lead to the violation of multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions, which were supported at the time by Moscow.
Kim’s trip to Russia lasted seven days and was the longest abroad to date by the North Korean leader since he came to power more than a decade ago.
Although the details of their meetings have not been made public, Putin assured after the meeting that there is room for military and space cooperation between the two countries.
American media collected information from intelligence sources in that country according to which Kim could be willing to support Moscow’s war in Ukraine with missiles and ammunition in exchange for food aid, and satellite and nuclear-powered submarine technology.
The American network CBS has even said that North Korea has already begun supplying artillery to Russia for its war in Ukraine. EFE