OSLO, Norway (AP) — North Korea may be able to boost Russia’s supply of artillery munitions for the war in Ukraine, but that is not likely to make a big difference, the top American military officer said as he arrived in Norway for NATO meetings that began Saturday and will focus in part on the conflict.
U.S. Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the recent meeting in Russia between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Russian President Vladimir Putin will probably lead North Korea to provide Soviet-era 152 mm artillery rounds to Moscow. But he said it was not yet clear how many or how soon.
“Would it have a huge difference? I’m skeptical of that,” Milley told reporters traveling with him. He said that while he does not want to play down the weapons assistance too much, “I doubt that it would be decisive.”
Milley and the other defense chiefs from NATO countries are meeting at the Holmenkollen ski area on the edge of Oslo over the next several days to discuss support for Ukraine and other regional defense issues. From there, Milley will attend the monthly meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group in Germany on Tuesday. That group, led by U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, is the main international forum for drumming up military support for Ukraine.
The NATO meetings come as Ukraine forces are making slow progress breaking through Russian battle lines in a counteroffensive that has not moved as quickly or as well as initially hoped. Kyiv’s leaders are lobbying for a new round of advanced weapons, including longer range missiles.
Adm. Rob Bauer of the Netherlands, the chair of the NATO Military Committee, said Saturday at the opening of the meeting that history will show “Ukraine has transformed modern warfare and they are moving forward every day. Every success is one step closer to victory.” He said Russian forces “keep losing more and more ground, and the whole of Russia is suffering under the impact of economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation.”
Milley said there is a continued need for more weapons and equipment in Ukraine and that allies and partners will be discussing how to address that. He said he believes there continues to be broad, bipartisan support in the United States and the U.S. Congress for the aid.
Later in the day, Bauer acknowledge that strains on military weapons production are increasing prices and decreasing the amount of ammunition and other stocks that countries have on hand. He said that while NATO is not organizing the donations, it is an issue that concerns alliance members.
“When they think about giving away weapons or ammunition, they have to think … what is the risk that I take against my own readiness?” he told reporters.
Most nations began the war with fuller warehouses of arms, but “the volume of the weapons and the ammunition that Ukraine requires is huge,” Bauer said. As a result, the amounts going to Ukraine and the…