North Korea Has Not Announced Troop Deployment to Support Russia in Ukraine, Contrary to Reports


North Korea has not announced plans to dispatch troops to support Russia’s war against Ukraine within a month, despite multiple news reports making this claim this week.

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Reports by the British tabloid Daily Express, Ukrainian website Kyiv Post, and other outlets have picked up on comments made during a U.S. government briefing, asserting that Pyongyang stated it would send engineers to Russian-occupied Donetsk to rebuild the war-torn city.

These reports emerged after Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un signed a mutual defense treaty last week, and amidst allegations that North Korea has been sending artillery and ballistic missiles to Russia to support its invasion.

While the possibility of North Korean troop deployment cannot be entirely dismissed, neither North Korea nor Russia has made any such announcements. The unconfirmed rumors have instead spread through anonymized single-source reports and multiple levels of misinterpretation, a common pattern for DPRK-related misinformation.

How the Rumors Evolved

Speculation about North Korea’s alleged move to directly enter the Ukraine conflict originated in a report by South Korean broadcaster TV Chosun last Friday. The report cited an anonymous ROK government official claiming that Pyongyang plans to dispatch military engineers to aid construction efforts in the Russian-controlled Donetsk region. The official suggested that North Korea would deploy an elite Korean People’s Army engineering corps as early as next month, citing its history of raising foreign currency through construction firms like the U.S.-sanctioned “Namgang Construction.”

Reuters mentioned the TV Chosun claims as background information in a report about a statement by a DPRK military official condemning Washington for allowing Ukraine to use U.S.-made weapons against Russia-based targets. In the statement released through the official Korean Central News Agency on Monday, Central Military Commission Vice-Chairperson Pak Jong Chon affirmed North Korea’s support for Russian efforts against what he described as a U.S.-backed “proxy war” in Ukraine, but did not say Pyongyang would dispatch troops.

During a press briefing on Tuesday, a reporter asked Pentagon spokesperson Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder about the rumored deployment of engineers, framing it as a confirmed announcement rather than unverified speculation. Ryder, appearing unaware of the speculation, replied that it would be worth monitoring such developments, stating that any North Korean troops deployed to Ukraine would simply serve as “cannon fodder in an illegal war.”

The same journalist repeated the question during a State Department press briefing on Wednesday, but spokesperson Matthew Miller said he had not seen any such reports and reiterated the U.S. opposition to potential Russia-DPRK military cooperation in “occupied Ukrainian territory.”

Despite these clarifications, the British tabloid Daily Express and some influential social media accounts had already picked up Ryder’s “cannon fodder” comments and repeated the incorrect description of the deployment claims as an official North Korean announcement. Some news outlets cited the TV Chosun claims as the story gained traction, while others, like Ukraine’s Kyiv Post and Kyiv Independent, referenced the Daily Express article’s claims without verifying the source of the rumors.

For now, these reports remain unverified rumors. While the possibility of DPRK troops joining the war cannot be ruled out, and discussions about sending North Korean workers to Russia-controlled areas of eastern Ukraine occurred in 2022, North Korea has not officially announced plans to dispatch engineers or other military personnel to support Moscow’s war efforts.

Edited by Bryan Betts

By Naija247news
By Naija247news
Naija247news is an investigative news platform that tracks news on Nigerian Economy, Business, Politics, Financial and Africa and Global Economy.

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