Stoltenberg urges South Korea to allow direct arms supplies to Ukraine
“I urge the Republic of Korea to continue and to step up the specific issue of military support,” he said, speaking in Seoul, CNN reports, according to Ukrinform
“Several NATO allies who had as a policy never to export weapons to countries in conflict have changed that policy now,” Stoltenberg said, citing Germany, Norway and NATO applicant Sweden as those which have changed their arms export policies to help Ukraine.
“After the brutal invasion of Ukraine, these countries changed their policy because they realized that when you are facing a brutal invasion where a big power – Russia – invades another one in a blatant way as we have seen in Ukraine, if we believe in freedom, if we believe in democracy, if we don’t want autocracy and tyranny to win, then they need weapons.
“When the full-fledged invasion happened last year, many countries changed their policy because they realized that the only way to stand up for democracy, to help Ukraine prevail, and to create the conditions for a lasting peace was to deliver military support.”
Military aid for Ukraine received a big boost last week when Germany said it would send 14 of its Leopard 2 tanks to Kyiv, while also permitting other countries that possess the Leopards, including Norway, to supply them.
In addition to the Leopards, Ukraine is set to receive heavy armor from both the United States, which is sending 31 M1 Abrams tanks, and the United Kingdom, which has pledged 14 Challenger tanks.
Some experts say the South Korean K2 Panther is also in that group of top tanks and could be useful for Ukraine.
But a South Korean presidential decree that enforces the country’s Foreign Trade Act says its exports can only be used for “peaceful purposes” and “shall not affect international peace, safety maintenance, and national security.”
Stoltenberg said Monday that it is imperative that democracies must stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes for Kyiv to win the war.
“Because if [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin wins, the message to him and other authoritarian leaders will be that they can get what they want with the use of force,” he said. “This would make the world more dangerous and us more vulnerable.”
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