Unannounced visit of the President of South Korea to Ukraine to meet with Zelensky

South Korean President Yoon Sok Yul is making an unannounced visit for Ukraine On Saturday, according to his office, he went to the town of Bucha before meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky.

The South Korean presidential office said, “The president toured first the town of Bucha, which witnessed a massacre near the capital, Kiev, and the city of Irpin, where the missile attacks focused on civilian residential areas,” noting that Yoon Sok Yol will meet Zelensky later on Saturday.

“President Yun Seok Yul will visit a memorial for the war dead to lay a wreath, and will hold a summit meeting with President Zelensky,” the presidency said in a statement.

South Korea, the world’s ninth largest arms exporter, has sent humanitarian aid to Ukraine and has also sold tanks and howitzers to Poland, Kiev’s main ally against Russian forces.

South Korea has a longstanding policy of not supplying weapons to active conflict zones, a position it has retained in the Ukraine situation, despite persistent calls from the United States, European countries and Kiev to send weapons.

The meeting between Yoon and Zelensky, who had previously urged South Korea to supply arms to Ukraine directly, is expected to deal with aid from Seoul.

South Korea, still technically at war with a nuclear-armed North, produces large quantities of NATO Armaments Directive-compliant weapons, including tanks, howitzers, and ammunition.

Seoul has hinted that it may reconsider its policy of not supplying lethal weapons. The President’s office indicated earlier this year that a large-scale attack by Russia on Ukrainian civilians could change its doctrine.

However, experts pointed to Seoul’s precise position on this issue, due to its economic relations with Moscow, its fifteenth trading partner in 2022, and Russia’s influence on its North Korean neighbor.

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