SITREP 6/20/24: Putin Signs Defense Partnership in Historic Pyongyang Trip


ER Editor: Simplicius below gives us an analysis of how Russian military might, significant in its own right, gets a solid boost from a defence pact with North Korea. Readers may be interested in a more general take of what was accomplished from Putin’s visit to that country. He’s since moved onto Vietnam. See this from RT —

Putin’s state visit to North Korea: Warm welcome, bilateral agreements and a new comprehensive partnership treaty


SITREP 6/20/24: Putin Signs Defense Partnership in Historic Pyongyang Trip

In only the second time since the inaugural year 2000, Putin touched down in Pyongyang—to great adulation and fanfare:

The visit comes directly after Russia intimated a mirror response to the West for its arming of Ukraine with advanced weaponry that can strike Russian territory. Not surprisingly, Putin’s visit was highlighted by a signing of a weighty ‘strategic document’ which included the implied possibility of Russia arming North Korea with its own stable of advanced weaponry.

Lavrov corroborated the fact:

⚡️💪⚡️Documents signed by the leaders of the DPRK and the Russian Federation:

💪Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Treaty between the Russian Federation and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea;

💪Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on the construction of a border road bridge over the Tumannaya River;

💪Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on cooperation in the fields of health, medical education and science.

💪Agreement on a comprehensive strategic partnership between the Russian Federation and the DPRK provides for assistance in the event of aggression against one of the participants, Putin⚡️💪⚡️

Beyond the perfunctory pledges for cooperation in various civil fields, Russia and NK intend to construct a new road bridge at their border to better facilitate inter-state travel, as well as the big one: a ‘comprehensive strategic partnership’ for assistance in the event of aggression. This sounds one step shy of a full military alliance.

The most important takeaway is twofold:

There is the obvious fact that this represents an immediate signaling by Putin that he wasn’t bluffing when he said there would be retaliation for crossing of the red lines. The most serious, and under-looked, aspect of this is the implied tit-for-tat potential for facilitating North Korea’s ability to strike the U.S. in nuclear fashion. The reason is: much of the threats vis-a-vis Ukraine are of this category: for instance, the F-16s which the West brazenly pledges to Ukraine represent a nuclear threat, given their ability to drop B-61 tactical nuclear bombs on Russian territory.

The West escalates tensions by shielding themselves beneath a nuclear-capable proxy, which would allow the waging of nuclear war against Russia with a sort of built-in plausible deniability or legal defense. So now, Russia has requited in kind by implying they can give North Korea even more lethal missile technologies, which can potentially be used in conjunction with nuclear warheads to put the U.S. under the nuclear sword.

But the most significant—to me—implication of these developments is actually that which applies much more directly and immediately to the ongoing Ukrainian on-the-ground hostilities. Not only does this tightening of relations represent the likely increase of conventional staple North Korean munitions to the Russian army, it also suggests the possibility of much more comprehensive supplies in the future; i.e. not just shells and small arms, but possibly entire weapons systems like MLRS, light and heavy armor, etc.

One suggestion making the rounds is the potential to supply the Russian Army with North Korea’s devastating KN-25 600mm MLRS system, which is basically the NK version of an ATACMS:


That’s all not to mention the fact that while this was ongoing, Russian hypersonic-armed warships reportedly performed maneuvers within visual sight of Miami, a clear message sent:

The routes of Navy ELINT planes circling above.

And lastly, this dovetails into something else. The Western commentariat continues to center their entire future victory hopes on the fact that the West is allegedly “increasing production”, which they desperately tie into the narrative that a year or so in the future the combined manufacturing powers of Europe and the U.S. will match or overtake Russia and it will be game over for Putin.

The problem this, as the below Korean excerpt shows, Russia is not only increasing production itself in line with the West, and arguably even faster, but Russia’s allies have massive manufacturing capacities for key munitions that dwarf anything the West will be capable of in the next decade or more.

Take a look:

Not only is North Korea’s current peacetime production capable of a massive 2 million 152mm shells per year, the South Korean expert source believes they can ramp this by 2x or 3x to a whopping 4-6m. To put that in perspective, the entire combined West could not deliver even 1 million shells to Ukraine, and that’s after trying to desperately source them all over the world. The U.S. has just ‘proudly’ announced their ramp up to 36k shell per month production, a measly ~430,000 a year, with the slated schedule to ramp to 80,000 a month—or 960k a year—by the year 2028.

Meanwhile, not only is Russia already said to be hitting 4-5M a year soon, but North Korea does 2M and can quickly ramp to 6M. In short, Russia’s strategic defensive initiative with North Korea promises to keep Russia’s artillery-thirsty army more than quenched indefinitely.

And for those who may balk at the numbers, South Korea just officially reported last week that they now calculate North Korea has already sent 10,000 train containers with 5 million shells to Russia:

Seoul has detected at least 10,000 shipping containers being sent from North Korea to Russia, potentially holding up to 4.8 million artillery shells, South Korean Defence Minister Shin Won-sik told Bloomberg News in an interview published Friday.

One can see the death of the narrative here. U.S. and allies are said to be “ramping up” to some point in the future where Ukraine can receive upwards of 2M+ shells per year, and this is meant to be a game changing turning point. Yet by that time, Russia could very likely source as many as 10M shells per year.

I wouldn’t be surprised if North Korea and others could also help Russia fill in the gaps with actual artillery systems, barrels, tanks, etc., if needs be. One of the other main elements of the pro-UA narrative is that Russia is running out of tanks. They are not manufacturing enough new hulls, and at least half or more of the yearly production consists of restored hulls from storage bases, which will run out in a year or two.

Part of this theory stemmed from the understanding that Russia only manufactures new T-72s, while T-90Ms and T-80s are all created from refurbished and finite hulls. However, Russia’s UVZ released a new video last week which showed a fresh T-90 hull being manufactured from scratch, distinguished by clips of its uniquely reinforced sections—which differ from the T-72—being milled and machined. This appears to suggest that Russia is now manufacturing completely new T-90s.

And while it’s true T-80 hulls are likely dwindling, Russia has slowly been resetting a T-80 production line, with turbine engine production having reached a milestone of being restarted months ago, with only hulls left to have a new line opened. Most likely, long before stored T-80 hulls are depleted, Russia will also have restarted native T-80 production at which point the bleed out will be staunched.

In short, Russia is going to be covered for the long term, and in fact its industrialists are already looking ahead to a post war future in line with Putin and Belousov’s initiative to integrate the war economy into the development of the civilian one. Rostec head Sergey Chemezov stated this today:

⚡️ Sergey Chemezov: today we are forming the groundwork for the post-victory period.

At a meeting of the Bureau of the Union of Mechanical Engineers of Russia and the League for Assistance to Defense Enterprises, the head of Rostec noted that the domestic defense industry, along with the implementation of the state defense order, creates groundwork in high-tech civilian areas for the post-victory period.

“The importance of the defense industry is growing rapidly. We not only equip our soldiers in the Northern Military District with everything they need, but also actively participate in the implementation of the most important civilian projects. We contribute to the achievement of large-scale goals of national development of our country,” said Sergei Chemezov.

Of course, the West continues efforts to reorient their entire strategy to one that can bear some success against Russia in the longer term future. But I intend to write an article soon devoted solely to that topic, so stay tuned.


Featured image source (left):

Featured image source (right):


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