Putin Clarifies Moscow's Stance on Mercenaries and Relations with North Korea

Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed the substantial volunteer numbers for the Russian army and dismissed rumors of seeking mercenaries from North Korea

by Faruk Imamovic
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Putin Clarifies Moscow's Stance on Mercenaries and Relations with North Korea
© Getty Images News/Pool

In a recent meeting with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed the substantial volunteer numbers for the Russian army and dismissed rumors of seeking mercenaries from North Korea.

This gathering provided an insight into Moscow's strategic thought process amid tensions in the region.

A Surge in Patriotic Sentiments

Putin proudly announced that a whopping 300,000 Russians have stepped forward, signing voluntary service contracts with the Russian army since the dawn of this year.

Highlighting the zeal and commitment of these volunteers, Putin said, "These people are ready to sacrifice their lives in the interest of their homeland, protecting Russia’s interests." Emphasizing the intrinsic motivation driving this number, he added, "And, first and foremost, our men, who sign these contracts, are being led by the highest patriotic sentiments.

This alone is worthy of respect." This surge in volunteerism ensures that Russia has no need to look beyond its borders for military support. Dismissing allegations of approaching North Korea for volunteers as "complete nonsense," Putin firmly stated, "Russia has no such need to resort to outsourcing the [special] military operation to anybody from the outside."

Dancing to One’s Own Tune: Russia’s Message to Ukraine

In the same meeting, Putin also addressed Moscow's ongoing readiness for talks with Ukraine.

His rhetoric was marked by a blend of diplomacy and cultural allegory. Responding to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s metaphorical statement that Russia and Ukraine will eventually "dance their tango," Putin countered with a mention of the ‘gopak’ - a traditional Ukrainian folk dance.

He commented, "The tango is a nice dance, of course. But I think it’s important that Ukraine not forget how to dance the ‘gopak’. That’s what is important. Otherwise, they will always have to dance to the tune of others." The message was clear: Ukraine should be cautious of external influences and should remember its roots and sovereignty.

Building Bridges with North Korea

On the topic of North Korea, Putin stressed the importance of cultivating a cordial relationship. "North Korea is our neighbor. One way or another, we have to establish good neighborly relations." Recognizing the nuances of geopolitics on the Korean Peninsula, Putin assured that Moscow would always respect international norms, "Moscow never violates anything and in this case we will not violate anything."

Russian Vladimir Putin
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