Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned South Korea against providing weapons to Ukraine, saying that such a provision will ruin relations between Seoul and Moscow. South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol responded, “That's in any regard a matter of our sovereignty.”
Putin issued the warning on Thursday while speaking at a meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club, a conference of international foreign policy experts, in Moscow. Putin told the conference that he was aware of South Korea’s intention to supply arms and ammunition to Ukraine, and such a provision will ruin relations between Seoul and Moscow. The Russian president highlighted how South Korea would react if Russia resumed cooperation with North Korea in this area.
It is very unusual for Putin to directly point at South Korea to warn against providing weapons to Ukraine.
"We have been in solidarity with the international community for peaceful, humanitarian aid to Ukraine and have not provided any lethal weapons,” President Yoon said On Friday. “But that's in any regard a matter of our sovereignty." “The government is working on building peaceful relationships with all nations, including Russia.”
In April, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged Korea to provide weapons for Ukraine in a video speech at the National Assembly. So far, the South Korean government has maintained that it will only provide humanitarian and non-weapon supplies to Ukraine, such as bulletproof helmets, tents, blankets, and medical supplies.
When asked whether this means the government has never supplied lethal weapons nor plans to do so, an official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs answered, “Yes, our stance remains the same about supporting Ukraine.”
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