The Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it "strongly condemns" the decision by North Korea to officially recognize the "so-called" independence of the Russian-occupied Luhansk and Donetsk regions in Ukraine, according to a statement released Wednesday.
In response, Ukraine announced the severance of diplomatic relations with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), North Korea's official name.
"We consider this decision as an attempt by Pyongyang to undermine the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, a gross violation of the Constitution of Ukraine, the UN Charter and the fundamental norms and principles of the international law," the ministry's statement said.
For almost eight years, the two breakaway enclaves of Luhansk and Donetsk in eastern Ukraine have been the site of a low-intensity war between Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian forces, which has left more than 14,000 people dead.
War broke out in 2014 after Russian-backed rebels seized government buildings in towns and cities across eastern Ukraine. Intense fighting left portions of Luhansk and Donetsk, in the Donbas region, in the hands of Russian-backed separatists. Russia also annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 in a move that sparked global condemnation.
North Korea's move Wednesday makes it the only country other than Russia and Syria to recognize the two breakaway enclaves.
"Russia's appeal to the DPRK for support in legitimizing the forceful seizure of a part of the Ukrainian territory speaks more about Moscow's toxicity than Pyongyang's," Ukrainian Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba said in the ministry's statement.
"Russia has no more allies in the world, except for countries that depend on it financially and politically, and the level of isolation of the Russian Federation will soon reach the level of isolation of the DPRK."