South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol has categorically denied allegations that South Korea supplied lethal weapons to Ukraine, following remarks made by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin had warned that such a move would severely damage bilateral relations between South Korea and Russia.
Putin’s statement came during a conference held in Moscow, where he accused the West of instigating the conflict in Ukraine. He emphasized that South Korea providing weapons to Ukraine would be akin to Moscow supplying arms to North Korea.
President Yoon Suk-yeol, responding to these claims, stated unequivocally that South Korea had not provided lethal weaponry to Ukraine. He clarified that South Korea had extended humanitarian and peaceful assistance to Ukraine in line with international solidarity but had refrained from supplying lethal weapons or any similar military equipment. President Yoon added that the matter of providing weapons was a question of sovereignty, emphasizing that South Korea sought to maintain peaceful and positive relations with all nations, including Russia.
South Korea had previously sent non-lethal military equipment such as bulletproof vests, helmets, and medical supplies to Ukraine. However, the country had consistently turned down requests from Kyiv for lethal weaponry.
As an ally of the United States, S Korea has adhered to a policy of not providing lethal aid to Ukraine. This stance is driven by both economic considerations and the desire to avoid antagonizing Russia, which holds influence over North Korea.
Putin’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, which commenced eight months prior, has resulted in significant casualties, the displacement of millions, and profound global economic repercussions. It has also exacerbated Cold War-era divisions.
In his Moscow conference, Putin defended his actions in Ukraine and placed blame on the US and the West for instigating the conflict. He accused the West of engaging in a “dangerous, bloody, and dirty” geopolitical game that has caused chaos worldwide. Putin also posed a hypothetical question to South Korea, asking how they would react if Russia resumed cooperation with North Korea in this area.
Putin’s message to Europe and the US was a call for understanding, asserting that Russia is not their enemy but their friend. He expressed Russia’s commitment to strengthening relations with Western nations. Additionally, Putin criticized the US for interfering in China’s dispute with Taiwan, characterizing it as contrary to common sense and logic.
This exchange of statements between Russia and South Korea underscores the complex dynamics at play in the ongoing Ukraine crisis and the delicate balance of diplomacy in the region.
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Summary: South Korea has refuted claims that it supplied lethal weapons to Ukraine, following remarks by Russian President Vladimir Putin. South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol clarified that his country had provided humanitarian aid to Ukraine but had not sent lethal weaponry. This development highlights the delicate diplomatic balance in the context of the Ukraine crisis and international relations in the region.