Russian President Vladimir Putin has refuted claims that North Korean volunteers are participating in Russia's military operations in Ukraine.
In a recent statement, Putin emphasized that Russia does not pose a threat to anyone and does not require "outside people" to conduct its military affairs.
Putin's comments come in response to speculations that North Korean citizens could be involved in the Russian-led military operations in Ukraine.
"I want to say that this is total nonsense," Putin stated, adding that Russia has no need to attract mercenaries for its operations.
According to Putin, all Russian men who sign contracts with the Russian Armed Forces are motivated by patriotic considerations. He revealed that as many as 300,000 volunteers are ready to sacrifice their lives to protect Russia's interests.
These men join the armed forces consciously and voluntarily, understanding the risks involved.
Open to peace talks
On the subject of peace talks with Ukraine, Putin said that Russia has never abandoned the possibility of negotiations. "We have never refused to negotiate, so if the other side wants to, let them say it out loud," he noted. However, he added that Kyiv has not shown any initiative in this regard.
Putin also addressed the issue of cluster munitions, stating that it is the United States that uses such weapons through Ukrainian soldiers. "They call it a crime but go ahead and do it," he said.