A nonsensical threat from Vladimir Putin

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A nonsensical threat from Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin accused South Korea of supplying weapons and ammunitions to Ukraine. He said that would “destroy our relations” at the Valdai Discussion Club, a Moscow-based think tank and discussion forum closely associated with the Russian president. During a meeting with experts from 40 countries, he singled out South Korea. The comment, which has been flatly denied by the South Korean government, is gravely disrespectful to South Korean sovereignty and pride.

South Korea has maintained that it cannot supply weapons despite the request from the Ukraine president and Western allies. Seoul has been providing humanitarian support to Ukraine, but has refrained from military engagement due to the ramifications on security conditions around the Korean Peninsula. South Korea has been mostly supplying Ukraine with non-military aid, including medical supplies.

“What would the Republic of Korea think if we resumed our military cooperation with North Korea? Would you be happy?” Putin said in the discussion forum. In a Q&A session after the meeting, he claimed that the United States changed its mind and imposed sanctions on North Korea though North Korea agreed with the United States over its nuclear programs. Putin was backing North Korea, which has been engaged in a series of provocations with missile and nuclear tests, and at the same time pressured South Korea with its cherished nuclear card. Russia has been struggling with the war in Ukraine, although eight months have passed since it launched the invasion in February. With such hostile comments from Putin in the forum, Moscow could be sending a warning after South Korea reached a multibillion-dollar deal to export its weapons to Poland.

President Yoon Suk-yeol strongly denied that South Korea has supplied weapons to Ukraine. But whether the country provided them to Ukraine or not, that’s “a sovereign issue” of our country, President Yoon told reporters after one of them asked him about his reaction to Putin’s threat.

It was Putin who caused international unrest with the invasion of Ukraine in February. The devastation of the war is ongoing. Even though he mentioned the possibility of using tactical nukes in Ukraine, Putin said that his country had never mentioned the use of nuclear weapons against Ukrainians.

The international community must unite to back Ukraine. We urge Russia to come to its senses. His comments could be aimed at taming South Korea by capitalizing on the renewed front between socialist regimes and Western countries.

The government must respond to the provocation with wise diplomacy.
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