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Research expert tells UN it has ‘irrefutably’ established missile debris in Ukraine is North Korean

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The head of a research organization that has been tracing weapons used in attacks in Ukraine since 2018 told the United Nations Security Council on Friday it has “irrefutably” established that ballistic missile remnants found in Ukraine came from North Korea.

The United States and its Western allies clashed with Russia and North Korea at the meeting, saying both countries violated a U.N. embargo on arms exports from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the country’s official name. Russia dismissed the “baseless accusations,” and the DPRK dismissed the meeting as “an extremely brazen act” to discuss “someone’s alleged ‘weapon transfers.’”

Jonah Leff, executive director of Conflict Armament Research, gave the council a detailed analysis of the remnants of the missile that struck Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, on Jan. 2.

He said the organization documented the missile’s rocket motor, its tail section and almost 300 components manufactured by 26 companies from eight countries and territories, and it determined the missile was either a KN-23 or KN-24 manufactured in 2023 in the DPRK.

The organization reached its conclusion based on the missile’s unique characteristics — its diameter, distinct jet vane actuators that direct the missile’s thrust and trajectory, the pattern around the igniter, the presence of Korean characters on some rocket components, and other marks and components dating back to 2023, he said.

“Following the initial documentation, our teams inspected three additional identical DPRK missiles that struck Kyiv and Zaporizhzhia earlier this year,” Leff said. They also observed additional conventional weapons, including an artillery rocket produced in 1977, “that had been seized