Russia’s humiliating battlefield losses and failure to conquer kyiv have shown that its armed forces are poorly equipped and poorly organized.
Now that the facade of his power has been shattered, an increasingly desperate and erratic Putin has made threats of nuclear weapons, which have been parroted by his Kremlin spokesmen.
If there wasn’t enough tension in the world, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un has also warned twice this week that he is prepared to use nuclear weapons.
The totalitarian state has one of the largest standing armies in the world, with more than a million troops.
But, depending on their family background and social status, many are forced to work on construction sites or on farms.
Many overworked, poorly slept and malnourished recruits ended up dying on the job or during training, according to regime defectors.
“The loyalty of military soldiers to the regime is not as strong as it used to be,” North Korea expert Dr. Sojin Lim tells Metro.co.uk.
Though ultimately unsuccessful, one defector recalled in one report how a group in a military camp trusted each other enough to talk about staging a rebellion.
With its military being used as a glorified workforce, Pyongyang is “not well equipped for war,” says Dr. Lim.
“That is why for Kim Jong-un, his nuclear program is the only survival strategy and for him it has now become even more critical,” he adds.
“Russia’s war in Ukraine does not seem to be a good influence on North Korea, from our point of view.
‘The association between Western forces and the weakness of the Russian armed forces compared to their own image is confirmed.
“By that, it became clear to North Korea that nuclear weapons are the only way they can compete.”
It came after a military parade on Monday in which the tyrant threatened to bolster his nuclear capabilities at ‘full speed’.
He said he would “have no choice” but to throw the weapons if provoked, but Dr. Lim says we can learn something from his somewhat ambiguous language.
“Kim Jong-un has pointed out that he might become more offensive than defensive, since he mentioned a pre-emptive strike,” she says.
You’ve mentioned a number of conditions for it to become offensive, but you’re not specific.
“He is again juggling different opinions to see how Western forces and the new South Korean president would react. I think he himself is not very sure.
Kim may also be trying to find out how Russia and China are responding to his growing nuclear rhetoric, says Dr Lim, co-director of the International Institute for Korean Studies at the University of Central Lancashire.
After years of debilitatingly strict border measures to clamp down on Covid, North Korea could be closer to opening trade with China again and will want to stay in its favor.
With Russia facing heavy economic sanctions in response to its invasion of Ukraine, Dr. Lim says it may want to strengthen ties with North Korea as it “needs more allies on its side”.
She says this could end stronger economic and military ties between Beijing, Moscow and Pyongyang as a result of the war.
US President Joe Biden has not previously shown much interest in North Korea, but the greater the threat he poses, the more likely the US is to invite him to the negotiating table.
This could present an opportunity for Pyongyang to get desperately needed help or for sanctions relief.
But again, Dr. Lim says punitive measures have not made North Korea abandon its nuclear program and it has found other ways to make money. including hacking and cryptocurrency fraud.
As the UN Security Council remains divided and gridlocked over the Ukraine invasion, Kim appears to be taking advantage of and accelerating his nuclear development.
So far this year, North Korea has conducted 13 rounds of weapons launches, including its first full-range test of an ICBM since 2017.
There are also signs that the dictatorship is rebuilding tunnels at a nuclear testing ground that was last active in 2017.
Some believe that Kim may try to conduct a new test sometime between South Korean President-elect Yoon Suk Yeol’s inauguration on May 10 and his planned summit with Biden on May 21, to maximize its effect. politician.
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