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Pentagon threatens North Korean soldiers will be 'cannon fodder' if sent to aid Russia in Ukraine

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North Korean troops sent to aid the Russian military in its invasion of Ukraine will be “cannon fodder,” the Pentagon claims.

At a Tuesday press conference, a reporter pressed the Pentagon press secretary, Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder, to comment on rumors of North Korean construction and engineering corps set to enter Russian-occupied Ukrainian territory.

Ryder did not dispute the possibility of North Korean military personnel entering the region, saying it was “certainly something to keep an eye on.”

RUSSIA, NORTH KOREA COMMIT TO DEFENDING EACH OTHER ‘WITHOUT DELAY’ IF INVADED, PROVOKING SOUTH KOREAN OUTRAGE

Putin Kim Jong Un Russia North Korea

Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un review an honor guard during the official welcome ceremony in the Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)

“I think that if I were North Korean military personnel management, I would be questioning my choices on sending my forces to be cannon fodder in an illegal war against Ukraine,” said Ryder.

South Korean outlet TV Chosun first reported that North Korea was planning to send the engineering corps to occupied Ukraine, citing a South Korean official.

Earlier this month, Russia entered into a defensive pact with North Korea that obligates both nations to defend each other from military adversaries “without delay.”

PUTIN THANKS KIM JONG UN FOR SUPPORTING RUSSIAN INVASION OF UKRAINE AS NATIONS SIGN MUTUAL DEFENSIVE PACT

Ukraine military

Ukrainian servicemen of the 21st Separate Mechanized Brigade fire a Leopard 2A6 tank during a military exercise near a front line in Donetsk region, Ukraine. (Reuters/Valentyn Ogirenko)

“If one of the two sides is placed under war situations due to an armed invasion from an individual country or several nations, the other side provides military and other assistance without delay by mobilizing all means in its possession,” the agreement states.

South Korean officials have been outspokenly critical of the pact, characterizing it as a direct threat to their national security. 

No explicit agreement was published regarding North Korean involvement in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, but President Vladimir Putin thanked supreme leader Kim Jong Un for his “unwavering support” in the conflict.

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Military

Servicemen of Ukraine’s 93rd Mechanised Brigade fire a French MO-120-RT heavy mortar at the Russian forces on the front line near the city of Bakhmut in Ukraine’s Donetsk region. (Iryna Rybakova via AP)

Putin’s regime has long sought to push the narrative that its invasion of Ukraine is a defensive war, retaking territory that rightfully belongs to Russia.

This characterization – accepted by Kim’s regime – could open the door to justifying North Korean involvement under the mutual defense pact.

An individual in South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol’s office, speaking on background, previously told the press that South Korea will consider providing arms to Ukraine following the pact as a political retaliation.

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