Isolationist communist dictatorship North Korea confirmed this week that it officially recognizes the independence of two separatist regions of Ukraine, the self-styled people’s republics of Luhansk and Donetsk.
While the move does little to help Russia succeed in its goal to “liberate” the two regions of Ukraine, it does indicate that North Korea is looking to win favor with the Russian Federation as it becomes increasingly isolated and dependent on the support of other authoritarian states.
The announcement, which came from the North Korean official news agency, makes North Korea the third country to recognize the independence of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) in the Donbas region of Ukraine.
Reports also revealed how the North Korean foreign minister sent letters to her counterparts in the two self-styled republics on Wednesday, confirming the support of the North Korean government.
The lack of support received by Russia and the two breakaways on the world stage meant that the announcement from North Korea was even welcomed on official social media channels.
Donetsk People’s Republic leader Denis Pushilin said on his Telegram account that he hopes to establish “fruitful cooperation” and trade with North Korea. The embassy of the Donetsk People’s Republic in Moscow also shared a photograph on Telegram of a ceremony in North Korea, during which the DPR envoy Olga Makeyeva received a certificate from Sin Hong-chol, the North Korean ambassador to Russia.
“Doesn’t Deserve A Response” on North Korea
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy hesitantly responded to the revelation, arguing that the recognition of the eastern regions’ independence was not worthy of a response.
“I took part in the Asian Leadership Conference, which takes place every year in Seoul, the capital of the Republic of Korea. It’s one of those platforms that attracts the attention of the entire region. And it is important for Ukraine that our interests and values are heard and perceived in all parts of the world, especially in the leading countries of Asia. I thanked them for their support and called for more active opposition to Russia’s terror tactics,” Zelenskyy said this week.
The Ukrainian president said that it was a “cruel irony” that the representatives of DPR and LPR announced the newfound support from North Korea.
“Of course, we will respond very robustly at all levels,” he said. “But this is the sort of news that needs no further comment. Everything is obvious. Which path we are taking and what the occupiers might lead to.”
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.