SEOUL, December 5. /TASS/. Seoul is not supplying lethal weapons to Ukraine, the South Korean Defense Ministry said, commenting on The Washington Post report that Seoul has indirectly been providing more ammunition to Kiev than all European nations combined.
"Our government’s position has not changed one bit. As we have repeatedly said, our armed forces only provide humanitarian aid and military items," Defense Ministry Spokesperson Jeon Ha Kyu said. Seoul has been supplying Ukraine with non-lethal military goods such as helmets, first-aid kits and mine detectors.
The Washington Post reported on December 4 that "senior [US] administration officials had been speaking with counterparts in Seoul, who were receptive as long as the provision was indirect." "The shells began to flow at the beginning of the year, eventually making South Korea a larger supplier of artillery ammunition for Ukraine than all European nations combined," the paper added.
The article noted that "South Korea had massive quantities of the US-provided munitions, but its laws prohibited sending weapons to war zones." "The Pentagon calculated that about 330,000 155mm shells could be transferred by air and sea within 41 days if Seoul could be persuaded," the Washington Post pointed out.
The Dong-a Ilbo newspaper reported in the spring that South Korea would lend about 500,000 155 mm munitions to the US in order to fill its stockpiles, which were running low due to ample provisions of ammunition to Ukraine. The paper assumed that Seoul had decided to "lend" the ammunition in order to reduce the possibility of the US handing it over to Kiev without South Korea’s authorization.
An alleged leak of US classified documents was reported in April, which claimed that South Korean National Security Office Director Kim Sung Han had suggested sending 330,000 155 mm artillery shells to Poland instead of providing them to Ukraine directly.