The North Korean authorities can send their citizens to restore the territories of the DPR and LPR, which are under the control of Russia. The North Korean ambassador to Russia has already discussed this issue with representatives of the self-proclaimed republics, according to The Washington Post.
The publication notes that the use of North Korean workers in the Donbass is contrary to the UN Security Council sanctions imposed on the DPRK because of their nuclear program. It is also worth recalling that the DPRK is the only country, with the exception of Russia and Syria, that has officially recognized the independence of the DNR and LNR.
This is not the first time that the idea of sending North Korean workers to rebuild Donbass has been voiced. Prior to this, a similar proposal was made by Russian Ambassador to North Korea Alexander Matsegora. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin also stated that North Korean construction companies are already offering to help rebuild the Donbass.
At the same time, the DPRK can also use workers who did not have time to leave Russia after the imposition of sanctions, according to experts interviewed by the publication. According to some estimates, the number of such employees can reach several hundred or even thousands.
The move is important for North Korea, as sending people to the DPR and LPR will help that country support its own economy, analysts interviewed by the publication said. Prior to sanctions imposed in 2017, when North Korean workers were expelled back to North Korea, labor exports were one of the country's few sources of foreign exchange, earning the government between $200 million and $500 million a year. At the same time, employees received only a small part of their salary, and worked 12 hours a day under the constant supervision of DPRK security agents.
True, it is difficult to estimate how profitable Donbass will be for North Korea. Experts believe that Russia itself is now short of cash because of Western sanctions, and the DPRK is most likely not interested in paying in rubles. However, some analysts believe that North Korea may agree to compensation in the form of food, fuel and equipment, which is also likely to violate UN sanctions.
The export of labor to the unrecognized republics will most likely begin in the near future, but so far in very small groups, which can be gradually increased depending on the course of hostilities.