Apparently attempting to paint a stronger military presence, North Korea reportedly slapped a camouflage coating on several cargo planes and flew them over Pyongyang during a parade, news reports say.
North Korea repainted the cargo planes, borrowed from state-owned airline Air Koryo, for a high-profile "Victory Day" celebration in July, Washington-based North Korean news site NKNews.org reported.
According to NKNews.org, pictures published on RussianPlanes.net "prove" that three "military" Ilyushin-76 cargo planes that were seen above Pyongyang in July were borrowed and temporarily repainted, likely to "exaggerate air force capabilities to watching international media."
Close-up photos of two of the planes, photographed at the Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow, show remnants of the camo paint under a white scheme.
It is not known why the planes were in Moscow.
The IL-76 cargo plane has been used before by North Korea to attempt to transfer arms, and is the only aircraft in the North Korean inventory "capable of transporting military equipment cargo," Lawrence Dermody, a researcher at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, told NKNews.org.
"I think a more far-flung but reasonable explanation is that they used water-based (removable paint), something that is common to do it in the film industry," a source told NKNews.org.
Reportedly, soldiers wearing backpacks with a radioactive symbols at the "Victory Day" parade were meant to suggest they contained small nuclear warheads but were actually stuffed with paper.