Pyongyang tested a “super large warhead” designed for a strategic cruise missile that experts believe is intended to be used by Russia in Ukraine.

North Korea has tested a “super-large warhead” designed for a strategic cruise missile, state media said Saturday, the most recent test since UN sanctions monitoring against the nuclear-armed nation were upended last month by Russia.

The announcement comes after Russia in March used its United Nations Security Council veto to effectively end UN monitoring of violations of the raft of sanctions on Kim Jong Un’s government for its nuclear and weapons program.

Analysts have warned that North Korea could be testing cruise missiles ahead of sending them to Russia for use in Ukraine, with Washington and Seoul claiming Kim has shipped weapons to Moscow, despite UN sanctions banning any such moves.

“The DPRK Missile Administration has conducted a power test of a super-large warhead designed for ‘Hwasal-1 Ra-3’ strategic cruise missile,” KCNA news agency said Saturday, referring to North Korea by an abbreviation for its official name.

North Korea also carried out a test launch of a “‘Pyoljji-1-2’ new-type anti-aircraft missile in the West Sea of Korea,” KCNA said, adding that both tests were carried out on Friday afternoon.

Seoul’s military said Saturday it detected “several cruise missiles and surface-to-air missiles” fired toward the same body of water, also known as the Yellow Sea, at around 3:30 PM (0630GMT) Friday.

It added that it was “closely watching” the North’s military activities, and if Pyongyang “commits a provocation, we will punish it overwhelmingly and resolutely.”

Unlike their ballistic counterparts, the testing of cruise missiles is not banned under current UN sanctions on North Korea.

Pyongyang said Saturday the tests were “part of the regular activities” of the country’s missile administration and had “nothing to do with the surrounding situation.”

A “certain goal was attained” through the tests, it added, without giving further details.

Yang Moo-Jin, President of the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, said it appeared that the tests were intended “to determine the type and potency—in terms of weight and destructiveness—of a warhead that can be equipped on a highly maneuverable cruise missile.”

North Korea will continue to “make improvements in the performance of its conventional weapons, as well as its cruise missiles,” on top of its nuclear program, he told AFP.

With AFP