The Russian authorities have denied reports that North Korean volunteers are allegedly being sent to fight in eastern Ukraine alongside the Russian army. Ivan Nechaev, deputy head of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Information and Press Department, has ruled out that North Korea is planning to send volunteers, dismissing as "false" the reports that have been circulating so far.
"We can state with full responsibility that these reports are false news from beginning to end. There are no such talks underway and there are no plans to deploy North Korean volunteers in the DPR and LPR (Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republic)," Ivan Nechaev said at a briefing. "We are convinced that the Russian Armed Forces and the DPR and LPR people's militias have sufficient combat capabilities to successfully achieve the objectives of the special operation in Ukraine," he added.
These reports of North Korean volunteers being sent to Ukraine began to spread after a Russian military analyst, Igor Korotchenko, claimed on Russian television. "There are reports that 100,000 North Korean volunteers are ready to take part in the war and that North Korean construction companies are also ready to cooperate with Russian companies in reconstruction programmes," he was quoted as saying by The Independent.
The Russian analyst praised the North Korean army's experience, describing its troops as "resilient and enthusiastic", and said the Kremlin "should not be ashamed to accept the helping hand that Kim Jong-un has given us". "If North Korea expresses its willingness to fulfil its international duty to fight Ukrainian fascism, we should allow it to do so," Korotchenko said.
At the same time, the Russian news agency Regnum reported that North Korea had expressed through diplomatic channels its willingness to provide the Kremlin with a large combat force and help in repairing the damage of the war. This was also echoed by the South Korean newspaper NK, reporting on the alleged dispatch of volunteers from the Pyongyang regime.
Today on Russian state TV, military pundit Igor Korotchenko is saying how great it would be for "North Korean volunteers" to come to Donbas, not only to help rebuild cities destroyed in the war, but also to fight alongside Russia pic.twitter.com/oMO94YMcWO— Francis Scarr (@francis_scarr) August 4, 2022
However, there is no evidence that either the Russian or North Korean authorities have affirmed this information. So much so that Korotchenko was interviewed a second time in the Russian newspaper MK, where he said the same information as in his first interview, but with some caveats. "North Korea continues to demonstrate real support for Russia in conducting a special military operation. Let me remind you that it was one of the first to diplomatically recognise the sovereignty of the DPRK and LPR, and has since provided them with moral support. You can say that they are ready for this kind of hostilities," the analyst argued.
As a close ally of Russia, North Korea has expressed support for Russia's invasion of Ukraine and has recognised Moscow's sovereignty over the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republic, as has the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. However, none of these countries has contributed troops to the Kremlin's invasion of Ukraine.
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began in February, intelligence reports have claimed that Russia has received military support from countries close to Moscow, including some African republics, but none of the authorities have so far confirmed such support.