Espreso. Global

Is North Korea sending troops to Ukraine?

28 June, 2024 Friday

It turned out that the source of the information was a report from the Korean cable TV channel TV Chosun. It is one of the four largest cable TV channels and a respected media outlet, so it is unlikely that they just made it up


What did the report say?

An anonymous source in the South Korean government said that "North Korea is expected to send a large engineering force to Donetsk next month. The goal is to rebuild the city, which was destroyed in the fighting."

The TV channel goes on to say that several North Korean companies are being used to cover the deployment of military personnel, particularly Namgang Construction. However, this is only a cover because, for example, one of Namgang's directors is a colonel, and all of the company's employees are army officers. This makes sense, as there is a lot of information about Namgang's activities, such as in Kuwait, where Namgang sent 3,200 employees.

Even in South Korea, the Kim family's activities are seen as a means of earning foreign currency. Moreover, in its report, the TV channel argues that the military will be sent under the guise of construction workers and uses this as evidence. The TV channel does not even try to prove that Kim's troops will take part in hostilities. They simply state that it is the military and use this to draw attention to the cooperation between Russia and the Kims. 

What can we say? Donetsk is not so destroyed by the war that it needs the Kim regime's help in rebuilding it. Perhaps they meant the Donetsk region, and in fact, the Koreans will be sent to Mariupol, for example, which Russia still cannot rebuild after leveling it to the ground. In this case, we don't have any particular problems. Let them rebuild.

The problem arises if the Kims are not strengthening civilian construction but are instead focusing on building military engineering structures. However, the reinforcement might not be so significant because, unfortunately, Russian military engineers are quite effective. Perhaps we are talking about equipping artillery depots; in that case, we will need to evaluate the effectiveness of the attacks.

A bigger problem arises if Kim sends his own military to Russia under the guise of engineers. Generally, this is not very profitable for Kim, as he doesn't have many people, there's a war ahead, and he needs his army. It is one thing to send an engineering regiment to build warehouses in the rear - they won't target a warehouse that is still under construction, as there is no point. It is another thing to send a division to the front line - there will be losses.

Firstly, the question is who will command the division and how? Will the division be transferred to the subordination of the Russian General Staff? Kim will not allow this; he will not subordinate his army to anyone. In Kuwait, the workers lived under the close supervision of commissars. To give up his army to Russia because of Kim's paranoia? It's hard to believe. And if the division acts separately, it's a strange task, like holding a section of the frontline where there will be no one but Koreans. That's the way it is.

Secondly, logistics. In general, the division moves with its own weapons and equipment, and they don't speak Russian or even English. It will not be easy to transfer Koreans to Russian equipment. Accordingly, it involves the relocation of a military unit, the setup of a new air defense system, and a designated section of the frontline where all radio communications are in Korean and the equipment includes Korean guns. This will be very easy to spot and trace.

Thirdly, why should Kim hide it if he is sending his army to invade another country? The sanctions will not get any bigger. Kim will talk about his victories, even if every single one of his soldiers gets hit in the head by a drone. For example, Kim claims that his athletes won the World Cup in Brazil in 2014. If Kim were sending troops, he would not hide it. They would broadcast on all radio stations about how two brotherly nations are fighting the American hydra. Wow, the Kim army is operating in Europe, something neither his father nor grandfather could achieve. But Kim did. It would be a powerful statement for propaganda. But we don't see anything like that, despite the fact that Kim boasts very well about his successes, such as missile tests.

So I still think that Kim is just making money, not sending his soldiers to the front line. In response, Seoul is using this to draw the world's attention to its problems. Additionally, it is highlighting that it is the military that is being sent. And, I hope, to justify its actions against Russia. This is good for us.


About the author. Anton Shvets, Ukrainian blogger, TV presenter, publicist and politician

The editors do not always share the opinions expressed by the authors of the blogs.

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