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Putin Cautions South Korea Against Supplying Weapons To Ukraine

Putin Cautions South Korea Against Supplying Weapons To Ukraine

Vladimir Putin cautioned South Korea against arming Ukraine, stating it would be a significant error. His remarks came after Seoul indicated it might supply arms in response to a new defense pact between Russia and North Korea.

Speaking in Vietnam after a visit to Pyongyang, where he signed the mutual defense agreement with Kim Jong Un, Putin warned Moscow would make decisions likely to displease South Korea’s leadership if it arms Kyiv. He also threatened to arm Pyongyang if the US and allies continue supplying Ukraine. South Korea condemned the Russia-North Korea pact as a threat to its national security.

Read more: US Indicates Expanded Policy Permitting Ukraine To Conduct Counterstrikes Within Russia

In response to Putin’s comments, Seoul’s presidential office stated it would consider various options regarding arms supply to Ukraine, depending on Russia’s actions. They summoned the Russian ambassador to protest the pact and demand Moscow cease military cooperation with Pyongyang immediately.

South Korea has provided humanitarian aid and military gear to Ukraine but refrained from supplying lethal weapons due to its policy against arming nations at war. Some in Ukraine hope deeper military ties between Moscow and Pyongyang might prompt Seoul to reconsider.

Analysts predicted Kyiv would leverage Putin’s Pyongyang visit to apply pressure. During the trip, Kim pledged full support for Russia’s Ukraine invasion, with signs Russia deployed North Korean missiles there. US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby called the Russian-North Korean agreement concerning for regional peace and stability.

He noted the US had long warned about their growing defense relationship. Tokyo expressed serious concern over Putin not ruling out military technology cooperation with North Korea. Japan’s government spokesman Yoshimasa Hayashi called the pact unacceptable.

Analysts warn the treaty could affect global and regional dynamics, potentially leading to North Korea arming Russia openly and Russia intervening in Korean peninsula conflicts. The Koreas, technically at war, maintain a heavily guarded border where tensions have recently worsened. In a separate incident Thursday, North Korean troops briefly crossed the border but retreated after South Korea fired warning shots, marking the third such incident in under three weeks.