South Korea has turned down a Ukrainian request for anti-aircraft weaponry because of its “principled stance” on not providing lethal hardware to the war-torn country, a defence ministry official said in Seoul on Monday (April 11).
The official, who asked to remain anonymous, said the request was made when Ukraine ’s Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov called his South Korean counterpart Suh Wook on Friday.
“The Ukrainian defence minister asked for weapons for air defence and Minister Suh politely repeated the South Korean government’s principled stance that its aid is confined to non-lethal materials,” he told This Week in Asia .
The Chosun newspaper, quoting another defence ministry official who was not named, said Reznikov wanted South Korea to supply its “Shingung” shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles, which are marketed internationally as the “Chiron”.
Shingung missiles have been shown to be highly efficient in destroying low-flying targets such as helicopters or fixed-wing aircraft.
South Korea has provided Ukraine with some 1 billion won (US$813,100) in non-lethal military supplies, including bulletproof helmets, blankets and medical items.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky is set to give a virtual address to the South Korean parliament later on Monday, where he is likely to repeat his call for more weapons and supplies.
He addressed Japan ’s Diet last month, calling for a trade embargo against Russia . Japan has imposed broad sanctions against Russia and while it has no plans to send weapons to Ukraine, it has shipped non-lethal military aid – a significant move given its pacifist constitution. Tokyo is also moving towards developing its offensive capabilities to hit back in the event of an attack on the country.
South Korea’s Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong told members of the transatlantic security alliance Nato in Brussels on Thursday that Seoul plans to provide Ukraine with additional humanitarian aid worth US$30 million.
Ukraine has received about 25,000 anti-aircraft weapons systems from the United States and its allies, helping Kyiv prevent Russia from establishing air superiority that would have aided Moscow’s ground invasion, the US’ top general said on Thursday.
Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the US and its allies had also supplied Ukraine with 60,000 anti-tank systems.
Zelensky directly pleaded to lawmakers and the White House during an address to Congress on Wednesday to quickly send weapons capable of defending his country’s skies from Russia’s missile and aerial attacks.
This article was first published in Asia One . All contents and images are copyright to their respective owners and sources.