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Putin Says It Will Be A Big Mistake For South Korea To Arm Ukraine Amid Deepening Russia-North Korea Pact

Moscow has warned of “unpleasant decisions” if Seoul supplies arms to Ukraine, following the new Russia-North Korea defence agreement.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has issued a stark warning to South Korea, cautioning that it would be making “a big mistake” if it decides to supply arms to Ukraine in its ongoing conflict with Russia.

Putin’s remarks come as Seoul contemplates such action following a new defence agreement between Russia and North Korea.

In response to Seoul’s consideration of arming Ukraine, Putin stated, “Moscow will make decisions which are unlikely to please the current leadership of South Korea.” The Russian leader made these comments during a visit to Vietnam, shortly after his state visit to Pyongyang, where he signed a mutual defence agreement with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

South Korea’s presidential office announced on Friday that it would explore “various options” regarding arms support to Ukraine, with its final stance hinging on Russia’s actions. Additionally, South Korea is expected to summon the Russian ambassador to lodge a formal protest, according to Yonhap news agency.

To date, South Korea has provided humanitarian aid and military equipment to Ukraine but has refrained from supplying lethal weapons, adhering to its policy against arming nations in conflict. However, the burgeoning military collaboration between Moscow and Pyongyang has prompted some in Ukraine to hope that Seoul might reconsider its position.

During Putin’s visit, Kim Jong Un pledged “full support” for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Evidence suggests that North Korean missiles are already being deployed by Russian forces in Ukraine.

The US national security council spokesman, John Kirby, expressed concern about the Russian-North Korean pact, stating it should alarm any nation invested in maintaining regional peace and stability. He noted that the US had been cautioning about the growing defence relationship between the two countries for several months.

Japan also voiced its apprehensions, with government spokesman Yoshimasa Hayashi condemning the agreement and highlighting the potential for unacceptable military technology cooperation between Russia and North Korea.

Analysts warn that the treaty could have significant global and regional implications. Besides the potential for North Korea to openly arm Russia, it raises the prospect of Russian intervention in any new conflict on the Korean peninsula. The two Koreas remain technically at war, with their border seeing increased tensions in recent weeks.

In a separate incident on Thursday, North Korean troops briefly crossed the border before retreating after South Korean forces fired warning shots, marking the third such incursion in less than three weeks. Previous incidents on June 9 and June 18 were deemed unintentional by South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.

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