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Smart Bombs: Military, Defense and National Security

The Russian Invasion of Ukraine is Quietly Becoming a Korean Proxy Conflict

Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine and the overall ten-year war is quickly spiraling into an East vs. West dispute with various political blocs and growing alliances supporting a particular party in the conflict.

North Korean Special-Operations Forces. Image Credit: Creative Commons.
North Korean Special-Operations Forces. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine and the overall ten-year war is quickly spiraling into an East vs. West dispute with various political blocs and growing alliances supporting a particular party in the conflict.

NATO is militarily backing Ukraine, as the collective security alliance was created to counter Russian expansion. China and Iran, both of whom wish to counter Western influence, are politically and militarily backing the invading Russian Federation, respectively.

Two other parties supporting Ukraine and Russia, respectively, are South Korea and North Korea, who are in a heightened state of tensions.

A war that never indeed ended, the more significant Korean conflict is increasingly becoming intertwined with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, expanding tensions on a global scale.

South Korea’s Support for Ukraine

Ukraine is currently a country facing Russia with renewed imperialistic ambitions backed by other countries that look to expand territory or wipe out their rivals, such as Iran and North Korea, with the latter being the catalyst of South Korean support for Kyiv.

South Korea, a country that has a dark history of various autocrats and corruption, transformed their country into a democratic model—akin to what Ukraine hopes to achieve.

Ultimately fighting back against multiple corrupt heads of state, Seoul has become an economic, technological, and military powerhouse.

Korea became partitioned in part due to Washington and Moscow, in which the latter and its tyrant, Josef Stalin, deported tens of thousands of Koreans. Due to Russia’s support for North Korea, South Korea aligns with the West, especially Ukraine.

During the Ukraine war, Seoul allocated $150 million in humanitarian aid to Kyiv in 2023 and $394 million in 2024. When Western military aid came in slow in 2023, South Korea stepped up immensely and supplied Ukraine with 330,000 shells, eclipsing Europe’s combined artillery allocation that year.

North Korea’s Support for Russia in Ukraine

North Korea, initially having a higher quality of life than its southern counterpart, quickly reverted to a regressive totalitarian hermit kingdom. The Kim dynasty has controlled the country since its inception, largely thanks to being propped up by China, the Soviet Union, and modern-day Russia.

Considering the United States to be their greatest adversary, North Korea’s foreign policies include backing any state in conflict with America, regardless of their ideology.

In late 2022, the White House announced that the Wagner Group was procuring shells from North Korea, as the mercenary organization was in conflict with the Russian Ministry of Defense over military support. North Korea would deny the report, but Pyongyang has been more open to military support for Moscow over the past few months.

In September 2023, North Korea would become more open about military support to Russia after a summit between Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin. Reportedly, upwards of one million artillery shells have been allocated from North Korea to Russia.

Recently it was reported that 7,000 containers of military equipment from North Korea to Russia are currently being transported to the front.

Though having a high dud rate, the North Korean artillery shells give Russian forces even more chances to maneuver under fire and mask tunnel building, as seen in the Avdiivka offensive.

How the War Intertwines Between Seoul and Pyongyang

Already holding heightened rhetoric towards Seoul, Pyongyang looks to gain data on their current artillery stocks to see if they will combat if a continuation war were to break out on the Korean Peninsula. The North also wants to send a message about its ultranationalist rhetoric on  defeating the South Korean government and fighting against any country affiliated with America.

South Korea, seeing the turbulence in US politics, is preparing for contingencies amidst growing tensions in the region and beyond. Seoul recognizes Kyiv’s fight against Moscow as akin to its battle against the North.

South Korea is increasingly becoming a global player through military exports, particularly finalizing major contracts with countries such as Poland, Turkey, India, and Australia.

Production towards both warring parties in Ukraine is instrumental for Seoul and Pyongyang as the South wishes to maintain peace through strength. In contrast, the North wants to remain relevant on the world stage through belligerence and provocations.

South Korea and North Korea now have foreign policies intertwined in the Russian invasion of Ukraine as both East Asian countries want to show each other they remain undeterred towards the other, and the overall war shows how quickly a regional conflict can have global implications.

About the Author: Julian McBride 

Julian McBride is a forensic anthropologist, SOFREP contributor, and independent journalist born in New York. He reports and documents the plight of people around the world who are affected by conflicts, rogue geopolitics, and war, and also tells the stories of war victims whose voices are never heard. Julian is the founder and director of the Reflections of War Initiative (ROW), an anthropological NGO which aims to tell the stories of the victims of war through art therapy. As a former Marine, he uses this technique not only to help heal PTSD but also to share people’s stories through art, which conveys “the message of the brutality of war better than most news organizations.”

Written By

Julian McBride, a former U.S. Marine, is a forensic anthropologist and independent journalist born in New York. He reports and documents the plight of people around the world who are affected by conflicts, rogue geopolitics, and war, and also tells the stories of war victims whose voices are never heard. Julian is the founder and director of the Reflections of War Initiative (ROW), an anthropological NGO which aims to tell the stories of the victims of war through art therapy. As a former Marine, he uses this technique not only to help heal PTSD but also to share people’s stories through art, which conveys “the message of the brutality of war better than most news organizations.”

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. PseudoExpertent

    March 20, 2024 at 1:01 am

    The ukraine proxy war is or has been totally organized by the US white house. Fullstop.

    Today, that white house is behind two big bloody proxy wars, one in Ukraine, and the other in Gaza (where else).

    North Korea is just a gimmick compared to the massive horde of nations directed by white house to fan the flames (& also to pour gasoline on it) of war in Ukraine.

    Definitely proxy war by white house. Nothing else.

  2. pagar

    March 20, 2024 at 2:03 am

    Hmm, according to documents leaked by one jack teixeira-something-or-other, US white house officials were freely listening in on president Yoon’s conversations in the blue house.

    Naturally,one will quickly become aware that Korea is just another obedient lackey or somebody packed tightly under uncle sam’s armpit.

    The same can’t be described with regard to north Korea.

    North Korea is like Russia, squarely placed inside the crosshairs of uncle sam’s war machine.

    So, to cut to the chase; US under ‘joe the elder’ will employ nukes against both nations before his (Joe’s) term ends in 2028. Assuming he would still be fully alive by then.

    Thus it’s terribly terribly important the public ejects ‘joe the elder’ from office this coming November.

    Otherwise, it’s gonna be total nuclear ww3 before 2028 for the entire world.

  3. Jim

    March 20, 2024 at 12:31 pm

    In the Ukraine conflict, each side (Nato & Russia) has resorted to their respective friends and allies for munitions.

    As the author correctly points out, Korea is divided with each half contributing to its “side” of the conflict.

    Is that a surprise?

  4. pagar

    March 21, 2024 at 2:43 am

    In Ukraine, one must look at the big or large picture, the panoramic view, so to speak.

    Ukraine today is a replay or reprise or repeat of Wild bill clinton’s ‘foray’ into balkan affairs. Just this time it’s under annunder different but similar democrat pres. Like LBJ also during his time.

    In 1999, wild bill unleashed a punishing near-six-month walloping of the former yugoslavia, forcing it to release kosovo.

    The circimstances are or were similar, the excuses also similar. So were the objectives and the hugely desired and eventually successful permanent deployment of NATO forces in the area.

    The result was the emasculation of belgrade viewed as a hostile entity.

    Today, in ukraine, belgrade of the balkans has been replaced or substituted by moscow.

    With masdive weapins, arms, ammo, money amd personnel being poured into ukraine, washington reckons moscow going to get kaput very soon.

    Today, moscoe. Tomorrow the world. A ring of familiarity.

    By 2026, the DoD will have its hands on the wonder weapin known as B61-13. And by 2027, the USAF will get its hands on the HACM, another wonder weapin.

    Between ukraine, moscow today, to 2026 to 2027 tomorrow, the democrats have it all already laid out.

    Yesterday the balkans, today ukraine, tomorrow the world.

  5. Lance

    March 21, 2024 at 2:57 am

    Maybe if Nato didn’t decide to constantly expand and surround Russia, we could have avoided this bs. Nope, nato can’t stop themselves from trying to inflict a one world govt on all nations. Ukraine is another dictatorship run by zelensky and his oligarchs. The clown took over all media, banned opposition political parties and has now suspended all elections. Power grav much. Meanwhile, the morons in nato laud them as a democracy, lol.

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