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Putin Warns South Korea: Arms Support to Ukraine a ‘Big Mistake’

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Kremlin Palace website

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that South Korea would be making a grave mistake if it decided to support Ukraine with weapons. As South Korea considers playing its lethal weapon support card, tensions between South Korea and Russia are escalating.

On the 20th, during a press conference in Hanoi, Vietnam, Vladimir Putin concluded his tour of North Korea and Vietnam. He addressed the South Korean government’s consideration of providing weapon support to Ukraine, warning that such a move would be “a big mistake.” Putin cautioned that Moscow would “make decisions unlikely to please the current leadership of South Korea” if Seoul decides to supply arms to Kyiv.

The South Korean government has maintained a principle of not providing weapons to Ukraine, but recently, the South Korean Presidential National Security Advisor indicated that they would reconsider this issue. This represents a hard-line policy aimed at Russia for signing a treaty equivalent to a military alliance with North Korea.

Putin stated that the strategic partnership treaty signed with North Korea the previous day is nothing new, asserting that it is identical to the existing treaty.

He effectively acknowledged that the core provision of the treaty—mutual military assistance in case of invasion—implies automatic military intervention.

He added that the treaty’s provision for military assistance only applies in the event of an invasion or military attack, so South Korea need not worry.

Putin clarified that Russia is currently conducting a special military operation in Ukraine but has not requested support from North Korea.

Arguing that Russia also has the right to supply weapons to third-party countries in response to the West’s weapon support for Ukraine, and he did not rule out this possibility with the agreement with North Korea.

He stated that the crisis on the Korean Peninsula is on the verge of flaring up, but he hopes that the treaty with North Korea will somewhat contain the escalation of this volatile situation.

Regarding sanctions against North Korea, he questioned the logic of sanctioning the right to emigrate, arguing that it is inhumane to deprive families in difficult situations of the opportunity to earn money and feed their children elsewhere. He suggested that the sanctions need to be reconsidered.

By mentioning a block system being formed in Asia and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) proceeding toward Russia, he addressed those as a threat to all countries in the region, including Russia. He emphasized that they must respond and will do so. 

Kremlin Palace website
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