North Korea Orders Russian Trading Company to Select Personnel for Ukraine Deployment

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Vladivostok, Russia on April 25, 2019. (Sputnik/Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via Reuters)

The North Korean government recently ordered a Russian North Korean trading company to select personnel to be sent to Russia-occupied eastern Ukraine so that they could participate in reconstruction efforts, the Daily NK has obtained.

Recently, according to a Russian Daily NK source, on January 20, North Korea issued orders to several trading companies, including Chulhyun Construction under the Ministry of National Defense and Jinling Construction under the 7th General Bureau of the Social Security Ministry.

Given that all the trading companies that received the order are affiliated with military or public security agencies, it appears that North Korea intends to send soldiers or police personnel to eastern Ukraine, rather than civilians.

The government may have decided to do this because soldiers and public security personnel are easier to manage and secure than civilians.

Personnel selected for deployment to Ukraine are young men between the ages of 19 and 27. Most are married but have left their families behind in North Korea.

Generally speaking, North Korean authorities prevent asylum for workers placed abroad by sending married men who are forced to leave their wives and children in North Korea.

Personnel could arrive in Ukraine in mid-February or March

According to Daily NK’s Russian sources, North Korea has instructed companies to complete personnel selection by the end of January.

Based on the sources’ descriptions, North Korea is likely to send personnel to Ukraine in mid-February or March, given that the companies were given about 10 days to complete the selection.

It remains unclear how many personnel North Korea will send to eastern Ukraine, as North Korean military and police-affiliated agencies across Russia have been instructed to select personnel.

However, considering orders from major trading companies, it is highly likely that the number of first-time employees will be around 300 to 500.

The order did not specify what duties they would be given upon arrival in eastern Ukraine, but they are unlikely to serve as mercenaries in the war.

The basic agreement between North Korea and Russia reportedly includes a clause that keeps North Koreans out of actual warfare.

For this reason, selected personnel may participate in reconstruction work, such as repairing war-damaged buildings and roads.

Earlier this week, Daily NK report North Korea has quietly selected two groups of workers to be sent to Russia-occupied eastern Ukraine, but has postponed the deployment for the time being due to the current state of the war.

A new way to earn foreign currency?

North Korea moves to recruit personnel from its own citizens already in Russia to be dispatched to Ukraine Not only is it intended to reduce costs in terms of time and money in moving large numbers of people, but it can also be a way of avoiding detection and criticism from the international community.

If North Korea actually sends personnel to Ukraine, it will have a new means of earning foreign currency.

It’s unclear what North Korea gets in return for sending people to Ukraine, but some argue that workers will receive three times the wages North Korean workers in Russia traditionally received. .

Moreover, since military personnel and police officers are paid a fixed salary by the government even while they are dispatched overseas, any excess income goes into the national treasury.

According to Daily NK’s Russian sources, the authorities suddenly issued an order to recruit personnel to be dispatched to Ukraine temporarily, but after the initial successful deployment, the government decided to reduce the number of personnel to be sent to the country. said to expand.

“There is no reason not to send them, as there is money to be earned,” he said.

Translated by David Black. Edited by Robert Laurer.

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