North Korea received help from Russia for the launch of a surveillance satellite that Pyongyang managed to place in orbit this week, South Korean parliamentarians said Thursday (November 23), citing intelligence services.

South Korea’s national intelligence service confirmed that “after the summit” between Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in September, “the North provided Moscow with the plan and data regarding first and second satellite launches. Russia in turn analyzed this data and communicated feedback to the North,” the agency argued to lawmakers, according to a briefing by MP Yoo Sang-bum.

This data analysis concerns launch vehicles used in two previous satellite launches sent by North Korea that failed, a member of the House intelligence committee told reporters after a spy agency briefing.

Another commission member said the launch was successful, with the satellite entering orbit, adding that Pyongyang could launch more satellites and conduct a nuclear test next year.

“An act of provocation”

Washington condemned the latest launch, which “increases tensions and risks destabilizing the security situation in the region and beyond,” according to National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson.

“The launch of a military satellite by North Korea constitutes an act of provocation which blatantly violates the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council,” reacted the South Korean general staff, also worried about the capabilities offered to Pyongyang by a “spy” satellite.

Tensions have only increased since 2022. The North has intensified its missile launches, including Hwasong-18 intercontinental ballistic models. The South has resumed large-scale military exercises with the United States. The dialogue is at a standstill.