South Korea has announced that the United States is close to agreeing to purchase 100,000 South Korean-made artillery shells that will be provided to Ukraine.
In a statement, South Korea’s defense ministry said, “in order to make up for the shortage of 155mm ammunition inventories in the US, negotiations are ongoing between the US and Korean companies to export ammunition.” The defense ministry stressed that the proposed sales do not change South Korea’s position on not providing lethal aid to Ukraine.
South Korean aid to Ukraine:
To date, South Korea has refused to provide lethal aid to Ukraine. In the last six months, South Korea has provided medical equipment, military helmets, bulletproof vests, and combat rations. South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol has previously said, “We have been in solidarity with the international community for peaceful, humanitarian aid to Ukraine and have not provided any lethal weapons.”
A warning from Russia:
The announcement of the potential sale comes on the heels of a warning from Russian President Vladimir Putin, who said that if South Korea provided lethal aid to Ukraine, he could do the same to North Korea. In remarks at an event in Moscow, Putin said, “we have learned that the Republic of Korea has made a decision to supply weapons and ammunition to Ukraine. This will destroy our relations. How would the Republic of Korea react if we resumed cooperation with North Korea in that sphere? Would you be glad about that? I want you to consider that.”