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In Kyiv, S. Korean leader pledges increased military aid to UkraineBy Shin Ji-hye
Published : July 15, 2023 - 21:48
WARSAW, Poland -- South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol pledged increased military aid as well as humanitarian support to Ukraine, a nation ravaged by war, during his surprise visit to Kyiv on Saturday.
Yoon had a 65-minute private meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to discuss pending issues between the two countries and a 45-minute extended meeting with key officials from both governments.
At a joint press conference held following the summit, Yoon vowed to increase Korea’s military aid to Ukraine this year. This commitment follows previous supplies that included body armor, helmets and mine detectors. Yoon did not mention any lethal aid, such as ammunition.
The two leaders agreed to jointly pursue the “Ukraine Peace and Solidarity Initiative,” which encompasses South Korean security aid, humanitarian aid and reconstruction aid.
In the field of humanitarian aid, Yoon pledged to provide $150 million in humanitarian aid this year, following last year's contribution of approximately $100 million.
“This year, we plan to provide new financial support in cooperation with the World Bank for the financial stability of the Ukrainian government,” he said.
In terms of reconstruction support, Yoon said the two leaders welcomed the provisional signing of the Economic Development Cooperation Fund between the two countries in May.
“By utilizing the project fund of $100 million already allocated by the Korean financial authorities, we will quickly discover and push for cooperative projects between the two countries, such as infrastructure construction,” Yoon said.
The two countries decided to establish a “Yoon Suk Yeol- Zelenskyy Scholarship.” Through this program, Korea will support Ukrainian students currently studying in Korea to help them finish their studies with peace of mind.
Yoon and first lady Kim Keon Hee arrived in the Ukrainian capital Saturday morning, and traveled to Bucha, a town on the outskirts of Kyiv where Russian troops carried out atrocities early on in the war. He also visited nearby Irpin, where civilian areas were subjected to concentrated missile attacks during Russia's initial invasion.
During a summit with Polish President Andrzej Duda on Thursday, Yoon suggested that Korea could be an "optimal" collaborator in Ukraine's reconstruction. Korea and Poland's plenipotentiary representative, tasked with overseeing Poland's supportive policies for Ukraine, ratified a memorandum of understanding concerning development cooperation in Ukraine.
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