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Russian diplomats say North Korea has recognized Moscow's sovereignty over Crimea

Russia's embassy in North Korea has announced a major diplomatic coup: Pyongyang has agreed to recognize Russian sovereignty over Crimea, the peninsula Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

“As the DPRK's Foreign Ministry explained to us, the republic respects the results of the referendum held in Crimea on entry into the Russian Federation, and considers it legitimate and fully compliant with international legal norms,” Russian diplomats wrote on Facebook.

Russian officials say they reached out to Pyongyang for clarification after the North Korean government released an updated world atlas that depicts Crimea as Russian territory.

North Korea voted against a UN resolution adopted in March 2014 endorsing Ukraine's territorial integrity and rejecting the validity of Crimea's March 16 secessionist referendum. Also voting against the resolution were Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Bolivia, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, Cuba, Nicaragua, Syria, and Sudan. One hundred nations endorsed the measure, 58 countries abstained, and 24 did not participate in the voting.

In December 2014, a representative for North Korea's Foreign Ministry said in an interview with the Russian news agency TASS that Pyongyang considers Russia's absorption of Crimea to be “fully justified.”

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