North Korean workers in Russia (Kang Dong Wan, Dong-A University)

North Korean authorities recently conducted special lecture for workers in Russia about the current international situation, including the crisis in Ukraine. During the lecture, the lecturer even said “just like Russia attacked Ukraine, we [North Korea] can, if necessary, also invade the South at any time.” 

According to a Daily NK source in Russia on Wednesday, North Korean authorities handed out “political study materials” related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to North Korean workers in Russia.

“Just like Russia sent troops to Ukraine, which used to be part of the same country [the Soviet Union], if necessary, we, too, can take over the South,” the materials stated, adding “We can attack South Korea with a single swoop.” 

The materials further claimed that, “In South Korea, there are many people who are waiting for the reunification of our country.”

The lecturer also told the attendees that, “Just as Russia did not immediately occupy Ukraine despite its superior military power, we are also pulling our punches with the South.” 

The materials claimed that “the war will, in any case, end with Russia’s victory,” along with the emphasis that Russia will “certainly win” in the conflict.  

In short, North Korea is claiming that it would overwhelmingly win a war with the South by comparing South Korea to Ukraine, which has inferior military power, and comparing North Korea to Russia, which boasts superior military capability.

The lecture was likely aimed at calming the confusing atmosphere North Korean workers in Russia currently find themselves in as a result of the Ukraine crisis, and to increase their confidence in North Korea’s foreign policy. 

Apart from showing support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the materials also claimed that the US is encouraging a “fratricidal war” between the two sides. 

Specifically, the materials said that Russian President Vladimir Putin has been trying to convince Ukraine not to join NATO for years and has given Ukraine many opportunities to change direction; however, the crisis erupted after Ukraine continued to actively seek NATO membership. 

In fact, North Korea continues to show public support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

On Mar. 2, North Korea voted against a UN General Assembly resolution denouncing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and demanding the withdrawal of Russian forces.

Also, in an official statement by North Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Feb. 28, North Korea claimed that the source of the Ukrainian crisis lies in the “hegemonic policy of the US and the West.” 

The lecture for North Korean workers in Russia also emphasized North Korea’s justifications for possessing nuclear weapons. “It was the US that demanded the nuclear weapons stationed in Ukraine to be returned, and now it is the US that provoked Russia to start a war,” adding, “Only independent military might can maintain peace.”

Daily NK understands that the country’s authorities are explaining the Ukraine crisis to cadres inside North Korea and educating them on the need for national self-defense and nuclear weapons.  

During the lecture [in Russia], the workers were told that, even though the situation in Russia now may be confusing, they should keep things in perspective,” and cautioned that they should focus on “earning foreign currency for the homeland,” the source added.

Translated by Gabriela Bernal

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Seulkee Jang is one of Daily NK's full-time journalists. Please direct any questions about her articles to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.