North Korea has offered to send 100,000 troops to support Russia’s attempt to invade Ukraine. Russian defense expert Igor Korotchenko reports on Russian state television: “There are reports that 100,000 North Korean volunteers are ready to take part in the conflict,” Korotchenko said on Channel One.
Korotchenko was particularly interested in what he called “North Koreans’ “rich anti-aircraft experience”. And: “If North Korea expresses a desire to fulfill its international duty to fight against Ukrainian fascism, we should allow it,” said Korotchenko.
Since North Korea is a dictatorship, there is reason to doubt whether such a force would really consist of “volunteer” fighters. Rather, it would point to direct support from North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un for Vladimir Putin and his invasion of Ukraine.
Recently there have been reports of “voluntary” troops from Russian satellite states fighting in Ukraine. For some Western analysts, this is an indication that Vladimir Putin does not intend to order mass mobilization inside Russia. So far, “no middle-class children from St. Petersburg or Moscow” are being sent to the front lines, British MI6 chief Richard Moore recently noted. “These are poor children from rural Russia, they come from working-class towns in Siberia, they are disproportionately ethnic minority – they are [Putins] Cannon fodder.”
On the other hand, the fact that other states are now rushing to Russia’s aid is clouding Ukraine’s prospects. The Ukrainian army can hardly hold its own against such a large number of personnel.
The latest reports recall the 200,000-man “People’s Volunteer Army” of the People’s Republic of China, which Mao Zedong dispatched to Korea in the fall of 1950, where they surprised South Korean forces between October 25 and November 4, and then the South Korean 2nd Corps and defeated the 1st US Cavalry Division.
Previously, the way to the north was effectively open to the south and the UN troops due to the extensive defeat of the North Korean army. However, the People’s Republic of China did not want to tolerate a united Korea under US influence and repeatedly warned against crossing the 38th parallel. In the US, the warnings were taken for a bluff and ignored.