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 on the front lines and had not been observed on the battlefield previously in Ukraine” that were manufactured by the DPRK, and might have been part of a recent larger consignment of rockers.

The council discussed illegal arms transfers from North Korea at the request of France, Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The meeting followed Russia’s March 28 veto that ended the monitoring of sanctions against North Korea over its expanding nuclear program by a U.N. panel of experts. The U.S. and its European and Asian allies accused Moscow of seeking to avoid scrutiny as it allegedly violates sanctions to buy weapons from Pyongyang for its war in Ukraine.

U.N. disarmament chief Izumi Nakamitsu told the council Friday that before its mandate expired, the panel of experts was reviewing a report from Ukraine on missile debris it recovered “following information about short-range ballistic missiles manufactured in the DPRK and used by Russian armed forces in Ukraine.”

While the mandate of the experts, which had been extended since 2009 with Russia’s support, was terminated, Nakamitsu said “it is important to note” that the Security Council committee responsible for monitoring the implementation of sanctions against the DPRK “continues its work and will oversee the implementation of the sanctions regime.”

U.S. Ambassador Robert Wood called Leff’s presentation with its many technical details “quite compelling,” and told the council that while Russia may have ended the panel’s monitoring with China’s “tacit support,” the briefing showed that Moscow and Beijing “cannot prevent the public from learning about the unlawful arms transfers occurring between the DPRK and Russia.”

He said the independent findings by Leff’s research organization corroborate open-source reports and analyses. And he said that, in addition to the dozens of missiles Russia has transferred from the DPRK, it has also unlawfully transferred over 11,000 containers of munitions.

“As a permanent member of the Security Council, Russia has a responsibility to uphold and strengthen international peace and security,” Wood said. “Yet, Russia is launching ballistic missiles, which it unlawfully procured from the DPRK, against the Ukrainian people.”

Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia accused the meeting’s Western sponsors of attempting to use the Security Council “to trot out an anti-Russian and anti-North Korean narrative and to disseminate baseless accusations in order to detract attention from their own destructive actions which foment escalation in the region.”

He called the claims that Russia is using DPRK missiles in Ukraine “absolutely false,” questioning the professionalism and expertise of those who examined the wreckage in Ukraine.

Nebenzia accused the United States of constantly stepping up the militarization of the Asia-Pacific region and said Washington’s policy of “extended deterrence” on Russia’s eastern border “poses a real threat not just for the DPRK but also for our country.”

He said the purpose of the June 19 strategic partnership agreement signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “is to play a stabilizing role in northeast Asia amidst an unprecedented escalation of tensions.” As for Article 4 of the agreement, providing for the delivery of mutual military assistance if either country is subject to an armed attack, he said this should not arouse “national security-related concerns” for countries that don’t plan to attack the DPRK.

North Korea’s U.N. Ambassador Kim Song called the United States “the world’s biggest arms exporter,” and accused the Western countries that called the council meeting of being “the main culprits” of disturbing global peace. They have caused “tragic bloodshed by extensive shipment of weapons ” and have cast “a cloud of war in every corner of the world.”

Song detailed U.S. arms shipments to South Korea and Japan and accused the U.S. and its followers of trying to obstruct the development of DPRK-Russia relations. He defended those relations as “completely of a peace-loving and defensive nature.”

China Deputy U.N. Ambassador Geng Shuang warned that peace and security in all of northeast Asia will be affected if there is “more chaos” on the Korean peninsula.

He called on all parties to be “rational and pragmatic” and “work together to cool down the situation.”

China will play “a constructive role” to realize long-term peace and stability on the Korean peninsula, Geng said, and he called on the United States to end its pressure campaign against the DPRK and “the myth of deterrence,” and demonstrate its sincerity in holding an unconditional dialogue “through concrete action.”

U.S. envoy Wood retorted: “If, indeed, China is so concerned about the security situation on the Korean peninsula, then it needs to use its influence with the DPRK to persuade it from undermining regional and global security.”

“It should also use its influence that it has with Russia through its new ‘No Limits’ partnership to end this increasingly dangerous military cooperation between DPRK and Russia,” he said.

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