EXPLAINER: Inside Kim and Putin's 'dodgy deal'
The two leaders – Putin and Kim -shake hands when meeting in Vladivostock, Russia’s Far East (Picture: AP/Reuters/Getty)

Vladimir Putin has turned to an old ally to replenish his ammunition supplies while preparing for an offensive in eastern Ukraine, a former security service officer has warned.

There are many signs Russia is set to hammer out an arms deal with North Korea along with ramping up domestic production to continue the full-scale invasion.

A meeting between Kim Jong-un, who rarely travels outside his country, and Putin wrapped up earlier today, with the supreme leader vowing support for Russia’s ‘just fight’.

Ivan Stupak, a former officer for Ukraine’s Security Service, spoke to Metro about what was discussed in the talks in Vladivostock, and what an arms deal may look like between the two nations.

He stressed that Russia is not interested in modern military supplies, but Soviet-era missiles, which North Korea has plenty of.

On the list are projectiles for BM-21 Grad, self-propelled 122mm multiple rocket launcher designed in the Soviet Union; shells for artillery and tanks; rounds for assault weapons and mortar mines.

Mr Stupak added that Russia would also be after repair parts for military vehicles like tanks and armoured personnel carriers (APCs).

Estimates say North Korea has tens of millions of artillery shells and rockets that could give a huge boost to the Russian army.

FILE - Members of the Wagner Group military company sit atop of a tank on a street in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, Saturday, June 24, 2023, prior to leaving an area at the headquarters of the Southern Military District. Wagner leader Prigozhin managed to get 200 kilometers (125 miles) from Moscow with little resistance. (AP Photo, File)
Members of the Wagner Group military company sit atop of a tank on a street in Rostov-on-Don, Russia (Picture: AP)

These would also be easy to be deployed to different fronts in Ukraine while the Russian army struggles with depleted stock.

‘Russia is running out of weapons, for sure. Key equipment was destroyed by the Ukrainian army using British-donated Storm Shadow missiles,’ Mr Stupak said.

‘For example, in 2022 Russia launched 70,000 missiles daily, while Ukraine could only fire about 10,000. It is our maximum.

‘Russia needs to restock its supplies to continue to have such firepower as it wants to destroy every Ukrainian city.

A picture taken on September 26, 2022 shows a damaged car bearing the letter Z, the symbol of Russian forces, at a possible mine field next to an abandonned industrial chicken farm, near which the Russian forces were dug in, near a suspected mass grave in Kozacha Lopan, Kharkiv region, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. - Ukraine's latest suspected mass burial site is in a shell-damaged and abandoned industrial chicken farm, on a hill near the Russian border strewn with the debris of battle. It is not known how many bodies lie there -- troops and officials speak of 90 to 100 without saying how they know -- but the signs of recent violence lie in the rubble all around. (Photo by Yasuyoshi CHIBA / AFP) (Photo by YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP via Getty Images)
A damaged car bearing the letter Z, the symbol of Russian forces (Picture: AFP)

‘Russia also wants to conduct its own offensive operation on the eastern flank, in the cities of Kupiansk and Lyman. They are going to need all the extra weapons.’

Speculation about military cooperation grew after Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu visited North Korea in July.

Mr Stupak stressed that this is when talks of an arms deal began, and Kim’s trip to Russia was to complete the negotiations.

The leader has not openly spoken about a possible sale of weapons, which is the subject of intense scrutiny and fear in the Asia Pacific and the West.

Meanwhile, Mr Stupak said the isolated Asian country is after Russian agricultural equipment along with food supplies.

‘This could also be just about hard cash for North Korea, or gold bars, just like the deal with Iran for Shahed drones,’ he added.

‘If memory serves me well, it cost the Kremlin $1.5 billion. Kim could also be after naval technologies for his fleet, perhaps for submarine, and fighter jets, just like Sukhoi Su-57.

‘Russia has about 120 Sukhoi Su-35, so it could end up sharing about 10% with North Korea.’

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