The Kremlin’s ambassador to North Korea, Alexander Matesegora, suggested that North Korean labourers could be used to rebuild the two separatist republics in Eastern Ukraine. He also claimed Pyongyang would likely receive much-needed industrial equipment and wheat from Ukraine as payment.
However, providing such technology to Pyongyang would violate United Nations sanctions which Moscow has previously supported.
According to the Telegraph, Mr Matsegora said: “Highly qualified, hard-working 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 destroyed by the retreating ‘Ukronazis’.”
Despite previous sanctions, North Korea is just the third country to officially recognise Donetsk and Luhansk as independent republics, after Russia and Syria.
Denis Pushilin, the head of the Donetsk People’s Republic, welcomed the recognition made by Pyongyang.
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He said it was “a triumph of diplomacy” and revealed he looks forward to “active and fruitful cooperation” with North Korea.
Mr Matsegora also suggested diplomatic ties could be strengthened.
According to the Telegraph, he told Izvestia there are “wide prospects for bilateral cooperation” between the two breakaway republics and their new Asian ally, with Pyongyang particularly keen to obtain replacements for its Soviet-era manufacturing equipment.
Much of that equipment was originally made in the industrial region of Eastern Ukraine.