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Andy Nguyen
By Andy Nguyen September 29, 2022

North Korean soldiers have not been sent to Russia to help with the war in Ukraine

If Your Time is short

  • North Korea has not sent any troops to Russia to help fight in Ukraine, and officials in Moscow have denied they offered the chance to help. 
  • North Korea has expressed interest in sending construction workers for any rebuilding efforts in Russian-controlled Ukrainian territories.

With Russian President Vladimir Putin calling for the mobilization of 300,000 volunteers to join the fighting in Ukraine, a recent Facebook post is claiming those troops will be joined by an additional 100,000 soldiers courtesy of North Korea. 

"North Korea sent more than 100,000 troops to Russia for the Ukraine war," claims the title and caption for a video shared on Facebook. 

What sounds like a computer-generated voice narrates throughout the nine-minute video, claiming that North Korea will also send volunteer workers to "Russian-occupied Donetsk and eastern Ukraine" in addition to the soldiers. 

It’s true that the Russian military faces personnel shortages. But we found no evidence that North Korea is sending troops.

The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

Although the Facebook post cites no evidence to support its claims, there have been stories in the news and on social media about North Korea offering soldiers to help Russia — not about troops already being sent to Russia as the post implies. 

The news stories draw from an article published Aug. 5 by the New York Post, which quoted Igor Korotchenko, a Russian military pundit

During a broadcast on Channel One Russia, a state-owned news station, Korotchenko said, "There are reports that 100,000 North Korean volunteers are prepared to come and take part in the conflict," according to the New York Post’s article. He didn’t elaborate on the reports. 

The U.S. government estimates that around 80,000 Russian troops have been wounded or killed throughout the fighting. The heavy troop shortages led to Putin declaring a mobilization of Russian military reservists to fight in Ukraine.

Several days after the Post article’s publication, the Russian Foreign Ministry denied online and in a news briefing that North Korean soldiers would fight in Ukraine.

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Ivan Nechayev, a deputy spokesman for the ministry, said Aug. 11 that it was a bogus story spread by "some bloggers and people close to the expert community," according to the state-owned Russian News Agency Tass. 

"In this regard, we can state with full responsibility that these reports are fake news through and through," Nechayev said. "No such talks are underway, and there are no plans to deploy North Korean volunteers to the (Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics)."

Donetsk and Luhansk are provinces in eastern Ukraine that comprise the Donbas region. Much of the region had been under the control of Russian-backed separatists since 2014 and is considered a foothold for Russia in Ukraine. 

The North Korean government has made no public statements offering to send soldiers to Russia. It has expressed interest in sending construction workers to help with rebuilding in the Russian-controlled Ukrainian territories, which it recognized as independent states in July. 

The U.S. government also claims North Korea has been selling weapons and ammunition to Russia to help with a shortage of military supplies in Ukraine — directly violating United Nations-imposed sanctions. North Korean officials denied the claim

Our ruling

A video shared on Facebook claims North Korea sent "more than 100,000 troops to Russia" to help with the country’s war against Ukraine. 

The video appears to be based on a statement made on a Russian-backed television station that said North Korea offered troops to Russia, not that it sent any. 

The Facebook video and the statement made on television provided no evidence of their claims. 

Russian officials have denied they received any offer from North Korea about sending soldiers to help fight in Ukraine. 

We rate this claim False. 

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North Korean soldiers have not been sent to Russia to help with the war in Ukraine

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