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Ukraine looks to Asia for weapons

South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense has rejected Kiev’s plea for anti-aircraft lethal weaponry due to a “principled stance,” ahead of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s virtual address to Seoul’s parliament.

The country’s Defense Minister Suh Wook had a phone call with his Ukrainian counterpart, Aleksey Reznikov, on Friday. During the conversation, Seoul’s military chief reiterated his country’s “principled stance” on not sending lethal weapons to the war-torn nation, outlet This Week in Asia has reported.

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“The Ukrainian defense minister asked for weapons for air defense and Minister Suh politely repeated the South Korean government’s principled stance that its aid is confined to non-lethal materials,” an identified Korean official shared with the outlet.

On Monday, President Zelensky is expected to address the South Korean National Assembly, seeking to receive more support from Seoul for Kiev’s resistance to Russian troops operating within Ukraine.

Attending a meeting with NATO leaders on Thursday, South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong pledged that his country will allocate an additional $30 million for humanitarian aid to Ukraine.

Previously, South Korea has provided Ukraine with such non-lethal military supplies as bulletproof helmets, blankets, and medical items. The overall value of Korean aid has exceeded $800,000.

Russia launched a large-scale military operation against Ukraine on February 24, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements signed in 2014, and Russia’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk.

Russia is now demanding that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it had been planning to retake the two secessionist regions by force.

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