On Tuesday of this week, the White House announced that Russia could be in the process of buying "literally millions" of artillery shells and rockets from North Korea. That being said, White House national security spokesperson John Kirby stated not long after this announcement that there were "no indications that that purchase has been completed and certainly no indications that those weapons are being used inside Ukraine." While that is true for the moment, if the purchase is completed and the armaments delivered into Russian hands, it stands to reason that these new military assets would likely be delivered to the frontlines in a expansion in support for the invading forces.
Though this has been dismissed by Vassily Nebenzia, Russia's Ambassador to the United Nations, if the information is correct this is but the latest tangible proof of how much sanctions have been undercutting Russia's ability to wage its war in Ukraine. John Kirby would add that it was "just another indicator of how desperate Putin's becoming... It's an indication of how much his defense industrial establishment is suffering as a result of this war and the degree of desperation."
While it might very well be the case that this is another indicator that sanctions are having a measurable, and significant, impact on Russia's ability to wage its war in Ukraine, it might also signal something more troubling for those hoping for a negotiated settlement soon to end the war. Specifically, these actions show that the Putin and the Russian regime is signalling continued committed to a war of attrition in Ukraine, one in which many more will die on both sides, and the extent and cost of destruction will continue to accrue. That being the case, while the potential scrambling by Russia to acquire more military supplies for its war effort shows the impact of sanctions, the West would do well not to lose sight of the fact that this action might mean a negotiated peace might be further off than is hoped.