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N. Korea Expresses Support for Moscow Over Mutiny

North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un (L) and Russia's President Vladimir Putin in Vladivostok on April 25, 2019. Valery Sharifulin / TASS

North Korea offered its full support for Russia in dealing with a recent mutiny, state media reported Sunday.

At a meeting with the Russian ambassador to Pyongyang Alexander Matsegora, North Korea's vice foreign minister Im Chon Il "expressed firm belief that the recent armed rebellion in Russia would be successfully put down," the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

Heavily armed Russian mercenaries from the Wagner group pulled back after advancing most of the way to Moscow this weekend, easing Russia's most serious security crisis in decades.

Im added that the "strong Russian army and people would surely overcome trials and ordeals and heroically emerge victorious in the special military operation against Ukraine," according to KCNA.

It is the latest message of support from Pyongyang to Moscow since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, which it has described as a US "proxy war" to destroy Russia.

As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, Russia has long held the line against increasing pressure on North Korea, which is under wide-ranging UN and Western sanctions over its nuclear weapons and missile programs.

Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul, said Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine threatens the "stability of the Russian state."

"There will be implications for the Russia-China-North Korea bloc, and officials in Beijing and Pyongyang are no doubt taking notes to avoid repeating Moscow's mistakes," he added. 

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