Ukraine’s first lady Olena Zelenska met with South Korea’s President Yoon Suk Yeol on Tuesday to request non-lethal military aid. She used a visit to Seoul to emphasize the need for “something more radical” than just humanitarian aid to end Russia’s invasion of her country. .
Ms. Zelenska thanked Mr. Yoon for the humanitarian and economic assistance South Korea has already provided and asked for non-lethal military equipment, including tools for detecting and removing mines, a spokesman for Mr. Yoon’s office, Lee Do-, said. live, to reporters.
Ms Zelenska said on Telegram that she and other Ukrainian officials, including the First Deputy Prime Minister, Yulia Svyrydenko, also discussed Ukraine’s need for stronger air defense systems.
Mr Yoon vowed South Korea would coordinate with NATO and other countries to “actively support the Ukrainian people,” his spokesman said, but did not provide specific details on what that would entail.
Seoul has so far rejected calls to send its artillery shells to Ukrainian forces, which need more ammunition ahead of a long-awaited counter-offensive aimed at retaking Russian-held territory. Mr Yoon first signaled last month that Seoul might be willing to send military aid to Kiev, telling Reuters it would be difficult to push solely for humanitarian or financial support in the event of a large-scale attack on citizens. .
The South Korean president’s change on the matter was “a wise decision,” Ms. Zelenska told Yonhap News Agency in an interview published Tuesday.
“Indeed, if there is a criminal in the house, the owners clearly need not only humanitarian aid, food and medicine, but something more radical to drive out the criminal,” she said, adding that peace was only possible through a Ukrainian victory. not by negotiating with a “murderer who has no remorse.”
Ms. Zelenska has become a prominent emissary for her husband’s government since she became a wartime first lady, championing the restoration of mental health and child welfare as she traveled aboard to advocate for support from Kyiv’s allies. Earlier this month, she met with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of Britain in London before attending King Charles III’s coronation.