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Russian use of North Korea arms in Ukraine a valuable battlefield test: US general

Russia’s use of North Korean missiles in its assault in Ukraine is giving Pyongyang a rare chance to test its weapons in combat and perhaps take away lessons that could improve their performance, a top US general said. “I don’t believe that in my recent memory that the North Korean military has had a battlefield laboratory quite like the Russians are affording them to have in Ukraine,” said General Charles Flynn, the US Army Pacific’s commanding general. That gives North Korea an opportunity to gain valuable information in technical matters, procedures and the munitions themselves. The US will be watching closely how this unfolds, Flynn said Saturday during a visit to the sprawling US Army Garrison Humphreys, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of Seoul. Flynn said a great concern for him and others is that North Korea will be able to learn things about their weapons “they would otherwise not have access to absent a conflict” like the war in Ukraine. The US, South Korea and others have that are easy to hide, quick to deploy and hard to shoot down. Images provided by the US indicate they are Hwasong-11s, a wide class of short-range ballistic missile that can reliably hit targets with a high degree of precision, according to weapons experts. They have ranges of 380 to 800 kilometers and increase the pool of weapons Russian President Vladimir Putin can draw upon. Prosecutors in Kharkiv said in March that Russian forces have fired North Korean missiles at Ukraine about 50 times since the start of the invasion, providing documentation for what it said included a Hwasong-11 family missile, specialist service NK News reported. The North Korean missiles sent so far are similar in size and flight dynamics to Russia’s Iskander series, weapons experts have said. A report last year by the Center for Strategic and International Studies showed that the US Patriot air defense system has so far been largely effective in countering Russia’s missiles. US allies South Korea and Japan both deploy Patriot batteries. These air defense systems have a powerful radar able to track as many as 100 targets including cruise missiles, ballistic missiles and aircraft, according to a report from the Congressional Research Service. The US, South Korea, Japan and Europe have accused North Korea of sending massive amounts of munitions to Russia, which are interoperable with the Soviet-era systems being used in Ukraine. Moscow and Pyongyang have denied the charges despite a multitude of satellite photos released by research groups and the US government showing the flow of weapons from North Korea to Russia and then to munitions dumps near the border with Ukraine.alarabiya

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.