North Koreans paid in rice and liquor to make weapons for Russia – source

North Korea has mobilised ordinary people to meet the increased demand for artillery shells believed to be made for Russia, it has been claimed.

Munition factories in the North Korean provinces of North Pyongan and Chagang have ramped up their workload immediately after the country’s dictator, Kim Jong-un, returned from his visit to Russia, a source has claimed.

This has led factory managers to mobilise people living near the factories to take part in production activities – although these workers are not directly involved in the production of the weapons but engage in “preparatory and post-production work” such as cleaning and packaging, it was claimed.

Factory officials haven’t said to their workers whether the munitions are being exported to Russia. North Korean authorities recently announced that, in light of the “US imperialists and South Korean puppets intensifying their schemes”, factories needed to produce many weapons “to wipe out the enemies all at once”.

However, suggesting these munitions are to be exported, a source claimed to the Daily NK: “[Russia has] ordered a great deal [and authorities] don’t suddenly send ordinary factory workers to work in munition factories to produce items required domestically”.

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Many of those who have recently joined the factories wish to return to their original workplace, the source also claimed, as they are currently being paid less than in lines of work such as the production of eyelashes and wigs.

The source added those recently called to work in ammunition factories were not paid in cash last month. Rather, they received 15 kilograms of rice, liquor, cigarettes, snacks, and other food items.

Kim made a rare trip outside of his country in mid-September, when he headed to Russia to tour, among other locations, key military and technological sites, visit a university and watch a show at a Russian aquarium.

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During the trip, the North Korean leader also met his Russian counterpart and underscored how his and Vladimir Putin’s interests align when it comes to waging war against the West.

The six-day visit is believed to have sanctioned a new deal between Pyongyang and Moscow, which reportedly sees the former delivering much-needed munitions to Russia to fight in Ukraine in exchange for food and technical support to advance North Korea’s military and space technology.

Within weeks of this milestone trip, the White House reported North Korea had delivered more than 1,000 containers of military equipment and munitions to Russia.

In late November, Pyongyang finally managed to launch a spy satellite into space after two botched attempts.

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The delivery of more than a million artillery shells from North Korea appears to have been met with mixed feelings by Russians on the front, according to Tendar, a social media account that monitors the war in Ukraine.

Citing messages shared on Telegram channels, the account wrote on X: “More complaints regarding North Korean ammo. Russian military bloggers report that the North Korean ammunition is very unevenly produced.”

“Even coming from the same production lot, it is obvious that deviations in the charge compositions and powder can be seen. It is very poor quality. Targeting and hitting becomes a game of luck.

“This comes after reports of production deviations of the shells in terms of manufacturing tolerances which were too much outside acceptable parameters and causing barrels of Russian artillery to explode.”

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