Why North Korea’s Meddling in Ukraine Matters

On July 14 North Korea recognized as independent states the Donetsk Peoples’ Republic (DNR) and the Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR). North Korea is the third country to offer official recognition to these Russian proxies,  after Syria and Russia itself. 

“So what?” one might say. An impoverished Soviet proxy makes some positive diplomatic noises about a neo-Soviet proxy in order to anger its bitter enemy the U.S. Does this matter at any level other than the fact that online Stalinists on Twitter will praise the move? 

Alexander Matsegora, the “Russian ambassador to the DNR,” hailed the gesture in an interview with the major Russian newspaper Izvestia, and said that the prospects for cooperation between North Korea and the DNR and LNR were “quite extensive.” The interviewer responded that it is difficult to imagine how a poor country under international sanctions like North Korea could help the DNR and LNR, or how they could help North Korea. Matsegora responded that there were three major ways North Korea and the Donbas “republics” could help each other: 

“You are not correct. There are prospects for cooperation between the DPRK [North Korea] and the Donbass republics. … Firstly, North Korean builders, who are highly qualified, hardworking and ready-to-work in the most difficult conditions, will be a very serious help in solving the problems of restoring the social, infrastructural, and industrial facilities that were destroyed by the retreating Ukronazis.”

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