By Benjamin Katzeff Silberstein
I don’t think we’ll fully know how solid and extensive plans are for the dispatch of North Korean workers to Russian-occupied territories in Ukraine until “boots” actually start to arrive on the ground, if even then. A recent report by Daily NK says that authorities have finished selecting workers who will go. It suggests that any contingent that may be sent will be fairly small — 800 to 1,000 — and that they will begin to arrive in November:
North Korea has completed the process of selecting workers to take part in reconstruction efforts in Russian-occupied parts of eastern Ukraine, with plans to send the workers to the region in early November.
A source in North Korea told Daily NK on Monday that the authorities carried out the selection in Pyongyang from July, and that “800 to 1,000” workers were recruited.
Daily NK reported in August that North Korea had planned to send some North Korean workers already in Russia to the Donbas, and that North Korean authorities had also selected workers in North Korea to dispatch to the region.
In fact, Daily NK’s source said the newly selected workers in North Korea would be sent in turns in small teams of 30 to 60 people.
“No firm date has been selected, but they plan to send the selected workers in early November as they select new workers,” he said.
This suggests that North Korea — having weighed when to send the workers while carefully watching the progress of the war — is preparing to send personnel in early November, and also intends to conduct a second round of selections of workers to send to the Donbas.
As for how the workers would get where they need to go, officials are discussing plans to send them by train from the northeastern city of Rason, or by flying them aboard an Air Koryo flight to Vladivostok. Also reportedly being discussed is a plan to send them to Moscow or Saint Petersburg via Beijing.
The source said China has “decided to feign ignorance” since the workers are only transiting through the country, not stepping foot in it.
“North Korea, China and Russia have agreed that sending North Korean workers to Russian-occupied areas would not constitute a violation of sanctions,” he said.
The source added that since sending the workers to Russia through Beijing would cost about the same as sending them through Vladivostok, officials are largely considering sending the workers through the Russian city.
(Source: Mun Dong Hui, “N. Korea finalizes selection of workers to join reconstruction efforts in Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine,” Daily NK, October 21st, 2022.)View Original Article