N Korea recognises breakaway Russian proxies in eastern Ukraine | Russia-Ukraine war News


North Korea becomes only the third country to recognise the Russian-backed separatist Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics in Ukraine’s Donbas region as independent states.

North Korea has recognised the independence of two Russian-backed breakaway “people’s republics” in eastern Ukraine, the leader of one separatist region and Russian state media said.

The announcement on Wednesday makes North Korea only the third country after Russia and Syria to recognise the two breakaway entities, the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR), both in Ukraine’s Donbas region.

In a post on his Telegram social media channel, DPR leader Denis Pushilin said he hoped for “fruitful cooperation” and increased trade with North Korea, an isolated, nuclear-armed state more than 6,500km (4,000 miles) away.

The DPR’s embassy in Moscow posted a photo on its Telegram channel of a ceremony in which North Korea’s ambassador to Moscow, Sin Hong-chol, handed a certificate of recognition to DPR envoy Olga Makeyeva.

North Korea’s embassy in Moscow confirmed it had recognised the independence of both entities on Wednesday, Russia’s TASS news agency later reported.

Russia, which has backed the two separatist regions since 2014, recognised their independence on the eve of its February 24 invasion of Ukraine in a move condemned by Kyiv and the West as illegal.

The Kremlin justified its decision to launch the war, which it calls a “special military operation”, by saying it was protecting Russian speakers who live in the Donbas region from “genocide”.

Kyiv and the West have dismissed these assertions as a pretext for waging war and seizing swathes of Ukraine’s territory.

North Korea previously expressed support for Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.

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