(PresidentialHill.com)- Last week, Russian state media reported that North Korea officially recognized the independence of the Russian-occupied regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine, describing them as “People’s Republics.”
Meanwhile, in recognition of Russia’s National Day just days earlier, North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-Un offered his good wishes to Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying he would lend his “full support” to Moscow and praising Putin for his “leadership and great success in carrying out the just cause of protecting justice and his country’s dignity and security.”
After Kim offered his public declaration of support for Russia, Ukraine announced it was severing diplomatic relations with North Korea.
Oleh Nikolenko, a spokesman for Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in a statement that the country “strongly condemns” North Korea’s decision to recognize the independence of “the temporarily occupied areas of Donetsk and Luhansk” by Russia.
In response, North Korea’s foreign ministry defended the country’s decision, saying Ukraine had aided US-led actions against North Korea, including sanctions over its weapons program.
The foreign ministry said Ukraine doesn’t have the right to dispute North Korea’s “legitimate exercise of sovereignty” after “actively joining” the United States’ “unjust and illegal hostile policy in the past.”
It added that North Korea would continue strengthening and developing “friendship and cooperation” with any country that respects its sovereignty “and treats us favorably on the principles of sovereign equality, non-interference in internal affairs, and mutual respect.”
Just days before launching the invasion of Ukraine in late February, President Putin recognized the independence of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. These regions declared their independence from Ukraine in an unofficial referendum in 2014.
Kyiv regards the regions as being under terrorist control.
In late June, Ukraine’s foreign ministry ended diplomatic relations with Syria after it also recognized the independence of Donetsk and Luhansk.