North Korea has offered Russia 100,000 “volunteers” to aid in the war against Ukraine, according to Russian state TV.
“There are reports that 100,000 North Korean volunteers are prepared to come and take part in the conflict,” talk show host Igor Korotchenko said on Russian Channel One, the New York Post reported.
The reports come as Russia’s military force is depleted after its unsuccessful attempt to take key parts of Ukraine, including the capital of Kyiv.
Some estimates put the number of Russian soldiers killed as high as 15,000 to 25,000. Accounting for over five months of the war, that puts Russia’s casualty count to about 100 soldiers a day.
Korotchenko also alluded to reports indicating Russia has invited North Korean “builders” to repair Russian-occupied Donbas.
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Alexander Matsegora, the Russian ambassador to North Korea, said in an interview in July, “Korean builders who are highly qualified, hardworking and ready to work in the most difficult conditions, will be a very serious” part in building the destroyed infrastructure in Donbas.
Korotchenko called North Korean builders “resident and undemanding” and said that most importantly, they are “motivated.”
North Korea and Russia have experienced a closer partnership after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with North Korea being one of the only counties in the world to recognize Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) and the Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) as independent.
Matsegora claimed in the interview that North Korea receives nothing for cooperating with Russia, and said it just acted according to its “conscience.”
“North Korea is one of the very few countries that can afford to pursue a completely independent foreign policy. No one – neither Russia with China, let alone the United States – can force North Koreans to do something or not to do something,” the ambassador added, promising to aid North Korea fight its sanctions on the global stage.
“In the new reality in which we exist, in which the DPRK exists, in which the republics of Donbass will exist, we need to get used to living in conditions of all kinds of restrictions,” Matsegora concluded.