Seoul mulls circuitous means of providing weapons to Ukraine

Posted on : 2022-05-30 16:44 KST Modified on : 2022-05-30 16:44 KST
The plan would entail providing weapons to countries facing weapons shortages due to providing arms to Ukraine
Russian separatist forces drive through Popasna in Luhansk Oblast in eastern Ukraine on May 26 (local time). (Reuters/Yonhap News)
Russian separatist forces drive through Popasna in Luhansk Oblast in eastern Ukraine on May 26 (local time). (Reuters/Yonhap News)

The South Korean government is considering an indirect approach to supporting Ukraine by exporting domestically produced weapons to countries that face shortages due to the arms support they are providing to Ukraine.

“We’re weighing an approach where we would provide exports to countries that request South Korea’s assistance because the arms and ammunition they have provided to Ukraine have left them with inadequate reserves at home,” a South Korean military official said.

The approach could have the practical effect of providing Ukraine with weapons as it eases the burden for others that are supplying it with weapons and ammunition directly. Currently, Ukraine is receiving support in weapons and ammunition from several European countries, the US, Canada, and others.

Ukraine has been asking South Korea for support with weapons since March, but the previous administration under President Moon Jae-in denied the request, indicating that the security situation on the Korean Peninsula prevented it from providing support in the form of lethal weapons. Instead, it had provided 3 billion won (US$2.4 million) worth of non-combat military items as of last month, including bulletproof vests, helmets, combat rations and medical supplies.

The recently inaugurated Yoon Suk-yeol administration has announced plans for increasing support to Ukraine. Attending a Ukraine defense liaison group meeting via video link on May 23, Vice Defense Minister Shin Beom-chul said the administration would “additionally consider possible contributions we could make in light of our responsibilities and role in the international community.”

By Kwon Hyuk-chul, staff reporter

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