Mark Milley says North Korean assistance to Russia probably won’t make a big difference in Ukraine

Russia Ukraine
FILE – Russian President Vladimir Putin, center right, and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un shake hands during their meeting in Vladivostok, Russia, Thursday, April 25, 2019. A North Korean train presumably carrying North Korean leader Jong Un has departed for Russia for a possible meeting with Russian President Putin, South Korean media said Monday, Sept. 11, 2023. Citing unidentified South Korean government sources, the Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported that the train likely left the North Korean capital of Pyongyang on Sunday evening and that a Kim-Putin meeting is possible as early as Tuesday. (Yuri Kadobnov/Pool Photo via AP, File) Yuri Kadobnov/AP

Mark Milley says North Korean assistance to Russia probably won’t make a big difference in Ukraine

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North Korean assistance to Russia in its war against Ukraine shouldn’t be written off but will probably not alter the conflict dramatically, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told reporters Saturday.

United States Army Gen. Mark Milley said the recent meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in eastern Russia will probably result in the latter providing the former with Soviet-era artillery rounds.


“Would it have a huge difference? I’m skeptical of that,” Milley told reporters, per the Associated Press. And though he said he doesn’t want to downplay the assistance, the chairman added that any aid from the North Koreans would probably not be “decisive.”

Kim, who rarely leaves his tightly controlled country, traveled via his personal bulletproof train to Russia Tuesday to meet with Putin and tour manufacturing facilities in the country’s east. It is likely that Putin is seeking support for his war against Ukraine, which has been grinding on for over a year and a half, while Kim will probably try to strengthen economic ties or obtain advanced military hardware for his heavily sanctioned and isolated government, according to analysts. Putin has been renewing or strengthening his relationships with the few international partners still willing to support the invasion of Ukraine, including Belarus, Iran, and, to a lesser extent, China, which has kept its position ambiguous.


Milley was in Norway on Saturday for a NATO meeting centering on the Ukraine war. The beleaguered country is continuing with a military offensive that has progressed much more slowly than many Western leaders had hoped, though NATO staff insist Ukraine is making progress and taking back territory Russia had occupied. The fighting centers in the country’s east, where Russia has set up breakaway puppet republics that give it a convenient “land bridge” to Crimea, which it seized from Ukraine in 2014. There has been an uptick in the intensity of attacks launched by both sides in recent days, with Russia lobbing missiles into Ukrainian cities and Ukraine bombing a Russian shipyard.

President Joe Biden is set to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the White House next week. His visit comes as some members of Congress, mainly Republicans, voice their opposition to continued military aid for Ukraine.

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