North and South Korea are both supplying arms to Ukraine now.

The Pentagon announced that it will buy 100,000 rounds of 155mm howitzer ammunition from South Korea to feed Ukraine’s artillery units. This comes on the heels of recent news that Russia has bought “millions” of rounds  152mm shells, rockets, and even artillery pieces from North Korea.  This is an indication of Russia being unable to replenish its stocks from Russian suppliers which is a combination of a lack of industrial capacity and sanctions imposed on it by the West.

The same could be said of the US and NATO’s capacity to supply Ukraine with reloads for its 155mm guns which make up the bulk of their artillery pieces.  In actuality though, 100,000 rounds bought from South Korea would supply Ukraine for about 20 days or so given that its daily expenditure in 155mm rounds is 5,000-7,000 a day. The difference is that Russian sanctions against the West have no practical effect and the production of US/NATO 155mm shells is much larger than Russia’s own capabilities.

As reported in the Wall St Journal yesterday, the Pentagon is contracting with a South Korean company to produce the 155mm rounds to replenish US stocks of these shells.  The US in turn will be able to send more to Ukraine under the lend/lease arrangement made with Kyiv.