A North Korean missile fired into eastern Ukraine by Russia contained hundreds of electronic components that trace back to companies headquartered in Europe, the United States, Japan, China and elsewhere, according to a British research institute.

The findings by Conflict Armament Research show that North Korea is able to acquire parts from overseas to manufacture weapons, circumventing U.N. sanctions imposed to curb its ballistic missile and nuclear development programs.

The institute analyzed the debris from a North Korean-made missile recovered from the eastern Ukraine city of Kharkiv on Jan. 2 and found that over 290 of its electronic components bear the brands of 26 companies headquartered in China, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Singapore, Switzerland, Taiwan and the United States.

Photo taken in Kyiv on Jan. 11, 2024, shows debris from a missile used in a Jan. 2 strike on the eastern Ukraine city of Kharkiv amid the war with Russia. Ukrainian authorities say they have identified the debris as part of a North Korean KN-23 short-range ballistic missile. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

Of the components, 75.5 percent were related to companies in the United States, 11.9 percent to companies in Germany and 3.1 percent to those in Japan, with most manufactured within the last three years, the institute said.

Based on the findings, the institute concluded that the missile could not have been assembled before March last year.

North Korea "has developed a robust acquisition network capable of circumventing, without detection, sanction regimes that have been in place for nearly two decades," said the institute in the report. The entity did not disclose the names of the companies.

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