Report: North Korean missile fired by Russia against Ukraine contained US and European components

By Natasha Bertrand – CNN

A bomb squad member works next to remains of an unidentified missile after residential buildings were heavily damaged during a Russian attack in central Kharkiv, Ukraine, on January 2, 2024.


A North Korean ballistic missile fired last month by the Russian military in Ukraine contained hundreds of components that trace back to companies in the US and Europe, according to a new report.

The findings mark the first public identification of North Korea’s reliance on foreign technology for its missile program and underscore the persistent problem facing the Biden administration as it tries to keep cheap, Western-made microelectronics intended for civilian use from winding up in weapons used by North Korea, Iran and Russia.

The UK-based investigative organization Conflict Armament Research, or CAR, directly examined 290 components from remnants of a North Korean ballistic missile recovered in January from Kharkiv, Ukraine, and found that 75% of the components were designed and sold by companies incorporated in the United States, according to the report shared first with CNN.

A further 16% of the components found in the missile were linked to companies incorporated in Europe, the researchers found, and 9% to companies incorporated in Asia. These components primarily comprised the missile’s navigation system and could be traced to 26 companies headquartered in the US, China, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Singapore, Switzerland and Taiwan, the report says.

Last year, as CNN previously reported, CAR determined that 82% of components inside Iranian-made attack drones fired by Russia inside Ukraine were made by US companies.

Along with extensive sanctions and export controls aimed at curbing access to Western-made technology, in late 2022 the Biden administration also set up an expansive task force to investigate how US and Western components, including American-made microelectronics, were ending up in Iranian-made drones Russia has been launching by the hundreds into Ukraine.

It is not clear how much progress that task force has made — the National Security Council did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Circumventing 20 years of sanctions

The latest CAR report does not name the specific companies that produced the components, because there is no evidence the firms deliberately shipped the parts to North Korea — instead, the components were likely diverted somewhere in the vast global supply chain once the companies sold them to various international distributors. CAR therefore prefers to work with the companies to try to fix the problem rather than to name and shame them, a CAR spokesperson told CNN.

The tail section of the ballistic missile examined by the group Conflict Armament Research, which includes the missile's navigation system, and the countries where the components originated.

The research also shows that North Korea was able to produce the missile and ship it over to Russia quickly. The components examined by the researchers were manufactured between 2021 and 2023. Based on those production dates, the researchers say the missile “could not have been assembled before March 2023” and was being used by Russia in Ukraine by January.

The fact that North Korea’s missile production appears to be fueled by parts originating in the West underscores how difficult it is for the US and its allies to control where commercial electronics are going, particularly semiconductor components that are extremely challenging to track once they enter the global supply chain.

The findings indicate North Korea “has developed a robust acquisition network capable of circumventing, without detection, sanction regimes that have been in place for nearly two decades,” the CAR report says.

And while Russia continues to be supplied by North Korea and Iran, the Biden administration has been unable to send new weaponry and equipment to the Ukrainian military because Congress has not approved the required supplemental funding to do so.

More evidence of Russia, North Korea ties

The White House confirmed last month that Russia has been firing North Korean missiles at Ukrainian cities. North Korea has also likely provided Russia with “millions of artillery rounds” over the last year, according to a report published last week by the Pentagon’s inspector general.

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Intelligence officials in Washington are increasingly concerned about the growing ties between North Korea and Russia, CNN previously reported, and the long-term implications of what appears to be a new level of strategic partnership between the two nations.

CAR said its examination of the North Korean missile “shows that North Korea has been able to produce advanced weapons, integrating components produced as recently as 2023, in spite of United Nations Security Council sanctions in place since 2006 that prohibit the production of ballistic missiles by North Korea.”

Russia’s use of North Korean missiles on the battlefield in Ukraine may also give Pyongyang data it can’t get from a testing program that has seen dozens of the weapons fired over the past few years under leader Kim Jong Un.

North Korea may also be seeking military assistance from Russia including “fighter aircraft, surface-to-air missiles, armored vehicles, ballistic missile production equipment, war materials and other advanced technologies,” National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said last month.

“This would have concerning security implications for the Korean Peninsula and the Indo-Pacific region,” he added.

12 thoughts on “Report: North Korean missile fired by Russia against Ukraine contained US and European components

  1. This is from b.s. CNN. I only sent it in because of the title. Just shows it’s all one big, happy, war-mongering family. None isn’t connected.


  2. Just 4 quotes about warfare from George Orwell’s 1984. There are many others –

    “In one combination or another, these three super-states are permanently at war, and have been so for the past twenty-five years. War, however, is no longer the desperate, annihilating struggle that it was in the early decades of the twentieth century. It is a warfare of limited aims between combatants who are unable to destroy one another, have no material cause for fighting and are not divided by any genuine ideological difference. (2.9.22, Goldstein’s Manifesto)”

    “The primary aim of modern warfare (in accordance with the principles of doublethink, this aim is simultaneously recognized and not recognized by the directing brains of the Inner Party) is to use up the products of the machine without raising the general standard of living. (2.9.25, Goldstein’s Manifesto)”

    “The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labor […]. The social atmosphere is that of a besieged city, where the possession of a lump of horseflesh makes the difference between wealth and poverty. And at the same time the consciousness of being at war, and therefore in danger, makes the handing-over of all power to a small caste seem the natural, unavoidable condition of survival. (2.9.28, Goldstein’s Manifesto)”

    “On the sixth day of Hate Week, after the processions, the speeches, the shouting, the singing, the banners, the posters, the films, the waxworks, the rolling of drums and squealing of trumpets, the tramp of marching feet, the grinding of the caterpillars of tanks, the roar of massed planes, the booming of guns – after six days of this, when the great orgasm was quivering to its climax and the general hatred of Eurasia had boiled up into such delirium that if the crowd could have got their hands on the 2,000 Eurasian war-criminals who were to be publicly hanged on the last day of the proceedings, they would unquestionably have torn them to pieces – at just this moment it had been announced that Oceania was not after all at war with Eurasia. Oceania was at war with Eastasia. Eurasia was an ally. (2.9.3)”

    1. Thanks for these, Nate. How very descriptive they are of what we’re in right now. Orwell, connected as he was, somehow found a way to put it all out there. Some say (and I tend to agree) he saw the evil game and had an attack of conscience. We’ll never know for sure, but damn, he coulda made Winston a hero, had him slay Big Brother, move double-speak to Truth-Speak, and floated Oceania into a Lake of Liberty.

      Well, no matter how much double-think they throw at us, we still know right from wrong. I mean at an intrinsic level. Even those who succumbed to the brainwashing have that truth deep inside them, likely just waiting to be awakened. We fight Big Brother, or we’ll always be Little Brother.

      1. Yes I thought these quotes were very fitting right now. Nearly every quote I read from 1984 today is even more fitting for the time we live than they have ever been. I know it sounds cliché (I don’t care!) but I always knew early on that this one book held a lot of truth inside its well-constructed “fictional world” (even more so than Orwell’s earlier work that I’m sure you will know). He definitely was a very interesting author & yes, it is hard to decipher what side his bread is buttered on to put it simply. In a way, and you may not have heard this comparison before as it’s a personal one, I liken 1984 to Grimm’s Fairy Tales in the fact that both are cautionary tales telling us point blank about the reality of the world we live in albeit in “slightly” different ways. BOTH definitely warn us about the parasite, one more directly than the other! 🙂

        Agreed on the other stuff galen 😉

  3. And I’ll just add the 1984 quote that stuck with me the most when I first read it because it’s short & sweet but clearly defines why so many (let’s call them the walking dead) seem oblivious to all the suffering or simply block it out so they don’t have to deal with it –

    “The choice for mankind lies between freedom and happiness and for the great bulk of mankind, happiness is better.”

    That might sound depressing (well it is 1984 lol!) or dare I say even bordering on defeatist (not in this mind!) but despite the seemingly increasing sparks of change here & there AND my life-long efforts to help seed it it’s unfortunately the truth I still see with my eyes & hear with my ears every time I’m out & about in any populated areas, especially in & around any cities. Those sparks I mention though are interesting – they are nearly all from people who I never thought I’d see them in. Most of them would be people who are considered elderly so those partial realizations might be natural & most of them will never physically effect change but some of them are in young people looking at the world with completely different eyes & that’s an as-of-yet untapped or unrealized energy…

      1. Agreed but you forgot one word before “happiness” & that is REAL! However, let me reply with 2 further Orwell quotes, both again from 1984 –

        “Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else.”

        “Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.”

        Oh & of course I must add a third!

        “Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.”

        So you see, it is VERY hard for the walking dead to perceive what indeed REAL happiness actually is. They unfortunately just don’t have the benefit of being able to look at things the way that we do. I even hate to have to say that but decades of observation & experience (plus other stuff of course) have taught me well 😉

        1. Oh & please allow me to add one note while I’m at it. The reason I really enjoy many of the ways Orwell words things is exemplified by that second quote. The use of the word “rebel” is so much more eloquent & correct than what most idealistic brainwashed faux academics or bloodline inbreeds would do in that same proposition. I’m not going to spell it out because you know what useless loaded word they would normally use & I respect at least some of the intelligence around here (and in my world respect is not given lightly but earned!) 😉

        2. Re: “Happiness,” real or falsely perceived… And re: “…it is VERY hard for the walking dead to perceive what indeed REAL happiness actually is.”

          With trannies, we do not buy into their delusions. So too with those under the spell of what you call the happiness that is not “real.” But you know what, Nate? My observations of them show me that they are sad underneath it all, even confused. They seek out celebrations and festivities, clink glasses, convince themselves all is okay, and then what usually follows is a crash, a spiraling down. Then the cycle repeats itself. Sometimes I am one of them. Yet I don’t care-take their feelings anymore or accommodate their comfort-zones. Rather, here comes Grandma talking about genocide and death-shots. No more playing along.

          But it’s pretty profoundly philosophical to consider what “real” happiness actually is. Not sure I know. If they ain’t happy I’m sure it’ll affect my happiness. So I don’t give up on them. It’s like they say, “In famine, if you have food and your neighbor doesn’t, you ain’t safe.” Might be too optimistic to push for win/win, but I push. We do need all the help we can get in fighting Big Brother and I see some evidence of more waking up because of Netanyahu’s atrocities against humanity. I believe that every day, there are fewer and fewer Winstons among us. As for Orwell… he fell short. He didn’t see American Nationals coming.


          1. Oh yes & yes galen, I do agree! I too have never given up the fight, as I said here “…the seemingly increasing sparks of change here & there AND my life-long efforts to help seed it…”. I was just trying to inject a some humor with a little “double-think” of my own by immediately juxtaposing my own sentence with Orwell’s –

            “Agreed but you forgot one word before “happiness” & that is REAL!”
            “Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else.”

            My attempts at humor can be a bit blunt & not always perfectly timed haha! 🙂

            Also, definitely not a “fan” of Orwell. I have just always found myself going back to 1984 & finding more in it as time progresses if you know what I mean. I guess that’s a natural process for many books as you get older.

          2. I, myself, AM a big Orwell fan because no one expanded my understanding of totalitarianism more than he did; ’bout frightened me to death. He only left out the part about how to beat it. Big frikkin’ omission. Yet, some say he was warning us; others argue he was mocking us. But just one other thing… I think he set a few traps. Especially this one: “Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.” I won’t let him tie my hands, even in a fictional context.

            And this: “Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else.” Can Orwell prove that? I asked my other half if he thought it was true. He said, “No, because reality exists whether we’re aware of it or not.” Who knows? And could any of us say we know more than we understand?

            Nate, I think it would be fun to share a beer or coffee with Mr. Eric Blair. I’d want to tell him that the tree that fell in the woods when no one was there to hear it scared the sh*t out of the bugs.


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