Russia is purchasing millions of rockets and artillery shells from North Korea for use in the Ukraine conflict, according to a U.S. official, citing newly downgraded intelligence.

The news comes a week after Kyiv began a major counteroffensive in the south of the country to take back territory Moscow captured in its initial invasion. Since the operation began, Ukraine has recaptured several settlements in the mostly Russian-occupied region of Kherson.

Also last week, Russia began receiving the first shipments of Iranian drones for use on the battlefield, according to the Pentagon. The drones, the Mohajer-6 and Shahed series, can be used to conduct strikes, electronic warfare and targeting. But officials said the systems have already experienced a number of failures.

U.S. officials said Russia's purchase of military equipment from pariah states is a sign that sanctions and export controls are working to restrict Moscow's supplies.

The purchase of arms from Pyongyang "indicates that the Russian military continues to suffer from severe supply shortages in Ukraine, due in part to export controls and sanctions," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive topic. The New York Times first reported the news.

The U.S. expects Moscow could try to purchase additional military equipment from North Korea in the future, the official said, declining to describe specific purchases.

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