South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol has denied that Seoul provided any lethal weapons to Ukraine after Russian President Vladimir Putin said such a decision would destroy their bilateral relations.
Putin made the remark at a conference in Moscow on Thursday, accusing the West of inciting the war in Ukraine and stressing that a decision by South Korea to supply weapons to Ukraine would destroy relations, equating such a move to Moscow sending arms to North Korea.
“We’ve provided humanitarian and peaceful assistance to Ukraine in solidarity with the international community but never lethal weapons or any such things,” Yoon told reporters on Friday, according to South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency.
“But in any case, it’s a matter of our sovereignty, and I’d like you to know that we are trying to maintain peaceful and good relations with all countries around the world, including Russia,” he said.
Seoul had sent bulletproof vests, helmets and other non-lethal military as well as medical supplies to Ukraine and has turned down Kyiv’s requests for weapons, Yonhap reported.
A United States ally, South Korea has maintained it would not provide Ukraine with lethal aid and has sought to avoid antagonising Russia, both for economic reasons and the influence Moscow can exert over North Korea.