Putin ‘highly appreciates’ S. Korea’s position not to directly supply weapons to Ukraine

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Putin ‘highly appreciates’ S. Korea’s position not to directly supply weapons to Ukraine

Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he “highly appreciates” South Korea’s position not to directly supply weapons to Ukraine, and that Moscow is ready to restore relations with Seoul.

Putin made the remark on Wednesday during a meeting with representatives of international news agencies, which was held on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Yonhap news agency reported.

The remark drew attention in that Putin, who began his fifth term as president last month, showed a positive attitude toward South Korea and openly talked about the possibility of improving relations with Seoul.

Relations between the two countries have chilled since Seoul joined a US-led move to impose sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. Russia has since labelled South Korea as one of the “unfriendly” nations.

“Just like in our relations with Italy, we do not see any Russophobic stance when working with the South Korean government. Neither are there any weapons supplies to the conflict zone. We highly appreciate that,” Putin said.

Putin also said he is aware that the United States is approaching South Korea to look for weapons to send to Ukraine and he is watching the situation closely.

“Today, unfortunately, certain problems have been created in many areas of our cooperation, which is a pity … But this is not our choice. It is the choice of the Korean leadership. The channel is open on our side, and we are ready,” he said.

Putin also said that Moscow expects its relations with Seoul will preserve, at least partially, to be restored to the previous depth in the future, according to Russia’s Sputnik news agency.

On North Korea, Putin reaffirmed his commitment to strengthening relations with Pyongyang.

“As for relations with North Korea … our neighbours, we will develop relations, whether someone likes it or not,” he said.

Relations between Pyongyang and Moscow have significantly strengthened since September’s summit between Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Putin has been considering paying a reciprocal visit to the North.

Putin said the North Korean nuclear issue will be resolved when Pyongyang is no longer threatened.

“They are being threatened, and they respond. Without threats, I think, the nuclear issue will gradually be resolved. But they are facing threats all the time. What else can they do?” Putin said, according to TASS news agency.

Wednesday’s meeting with international news agencies, organized by TASS, took place for the first time since 2021, when the meeting was held virtually due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

 


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