Russia, angered about the buildup of US led NATO forces on its western border in Europe where most countries are now increasing their defense spending as per US President Trump’s demand, is betting two horses at the same time in the North Korean crisis apparently.
Whilst backing tougher sanctions against North Korea at the United Nations Security Council meeting, it is also becoming clear that Russian trade with North Korea is in fact growing. Bilateral trade between the two countries doubled to $31.4 million in the first quarter of this year. Moscow said this is due to higher oil exports, the product the US has asked all other countries to stop exporting to North Korea.
A US official declared that eight North Korean fuel ships left Russia and stated other destinations in order to escape worldwide sanctions against the regime but secretly did make it back to ports of the North Korean land mass.
Mr Andrey Kortunov of the Russian International Affairs Council: “The Kremlin really believes the North Korean leadership should get additional assurances and confidence that the United States is not in the regime change business. The prospect of regime change is a serious concern. The Kremlin understands that (U.S. President Donald) Trump is unpredictable. They felt more secure with Barack Obama that he would not take any action that would explode the situation, but with Trump they don’t know.”
Of course you must take into account the history and future for Russia.
As to the history, North Korea started out as a satellite state of the Soviet empire in the 1950s, so there will always be ties between the two.
As to the future, Russia is counting down to presidential elections next year, which Vladimir Putin is bound to win as the only candidate. Given that his countrymen only respect him as a hardliner, he must be seen opposing the US in whatever they do, so although Putin cannot directly make a move, he will not oppose any of his ministries helping out the regime of North Korean dictator Kim Jung Un.