North Korea likely to send builders to eastern Ukraine’s separatist regions to help in their “reconstruction” after they have been destroyed due to war, Russia’s Ambassador to Pyongyang said on Tuesday.
“Highly qualified, hardworking, and ready to work in the most difficult conditions, Korean builders will be an asset in the serious task of restoring social, infrastructural and industrial facilities [in the Donbas] destroyed by the retreating Ukronazis,” Ambassador Alexander Matsegora told the pro-Kremlin daily Izvestia, deploying a Kremlin talking point based on the false assertion that Nazis run Kyiv’s government.
Last week, North Korea became the third state after Russia and Syria officially recognised the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, two Kremlin-backed breakaway regions of Ukraine collectively referred to as the Donbas.
Donetsk People’s Republic leader Denis Pushilin hailed North Korea’s recognition as a “triumph of diplomacy” for the breakaway region and expressed hope for “active and fruitful cooperation” with its newly acquired Asian partner.
According to Matsegora, North Korea and the two separatist republics have “wide prospects for bilateral cooperation” and are expected to establish mutually beneficial trade relations.
The ambassador said that Pyongyang is particularly interested in upgrading its Soviet-era manufacturing equipment, which was initially made at factories in eastern Ukraine.
“Our Korean partners are very interested in spare parts and units manufactured there, in updating their production base,” Matsegora said.
North Korea is also expected to supply its new partners with magnesite clinker in exchange for shipments of coking coal and wheat, according to Matsegora.
Russia has already been reported to be sending teachers, construction workers and more to eastern Ukraine to “rebuild” the regions following the Kremlin’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine.