Allies like North Korea, China giving Russia advantage over Ukraine: Norway

Russia is starting to gain an advantage in its war against Ukraine thanks to support from its allies like China and North Korea, according to Norway’s military intelligence service.

Nils Stensønes, director of the Norwegian Intelligence Service (NIS), told reporters Monday after the release of Olso’s annual security threat assessment, “Focus,” that Moscow is in a “stronger position than it was a year ago and is poised to gain the upper hand” against Kyiv’s troops. He added that Russia is capable of mobilizing “three times more troops than Ukraine” if needed, highlighting that Kyiv would need “extensive” military aid from its Western partners to reverse the course of the war.

“Russia is adapting to sanctions better than expected, and its industry is capable of producing a sufficient quantity of ammunition, combat vehicles, drones, and missiles,” Stensønes said.

Norway’s intelligence director added that Russia’s success is in part thanks to its military support from countries like Belarus, China, Iran and North Korea. Moscow and Tehran announced plans last month to strengthen their ties to counter sanctions imposed by the West, and Iran has supplied Russia’s military with Shahed drones since the start of the war in Ukraine.

Belarus is also a known ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Countries like China, however, have attempted to appear neutral in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, although China’s defense minister, Dong Jun, stated his full support for Russia’s invasion during a video call earlier this month. Stensønes noted on Monday that while China is not sending weapons to Moscow, it is supplying “machinery, transportation, electronics, and spare parts” that are useful for Russia’s military.

North Korea has also been accused by the United States and other Western powers of supplying weapons to Russia for its war in Ukraine, including missiles. Moscow officials have denied the claims.

“Russian and Chinese authorities share an ambition to undercut the influence of the West and to establish an international order in which liberal values such as democracy and freedom of speech do not set the course,” Stensønes said in a release attached to the NIS report Monday. “Cooperation between authoritarian states is increasing. International rule of law is weakened, and the world is re-arming.”

Newsweek reached out to the Russian Defense Ministry for comment via email.

Stensønes’ comments follow reports of Russian advances in recent days along the eastern frontlines. The Institute for the Study of War said in an assessment on Sunday that Moscow’s troops were closing in on Avdiivka, a village in the Donetsk region that has been a focal point of fighting for months. Ukrainian officials promised on Sunday that their forces “continue to restrain the enemy” despite Russia’s continued attacks on Avdiivka.

Allies Like North Korea, China Giving RussiaAdvantage
Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un shaking hands during their meeting at the Vostochny Cosmodrome in the Amur region on September 13, 2023, ahead of planned talks that could…