OLENA ZELENSKA: UKRAINE’S FIRST LADY ASKS SOUTH KOREA FOR AIR DEFENSE SYSTEMS AND NON-LETHAL MILITARY HARDWARE
During her visit to Seoul, South Korea, on Tuesday as a Ukrainian presidential envoy, Olena Zelenska asked the country to provide air defense systems and non-lethal military hardware, including mine detectors, demining equipment, and first aid vehicles. Ukraine’s first lady requested South Korea’s assistance with technologies it is renowned for, as her country continues to deal with the ongoing conflict with Russia.
Air defense systems were one of the main items requested, as they are necessary to prevent “the missile terrorism of the aggressor country,” Zelenska said. The Ukrainian first lady also stressed the need for equipment to help clear Russia’s traps on Ukrainian territories and to provide medical aid to those wounded.
SOUTH KOREA’S PREVIOUS STANCE ON WEAPONS EXPORTS TO COUNTRIES IN CONFLICT
South Korea has traditionally refrained from providing lethal weapons to countries in conflict, but President Yoon Suk Yeol hinted at a potential major policy shift in April 2021. “If there is a situation the international community cannot condone, such as any large-scale attack on civilians, massacre, or serious violation of the laws of war, it might be difficult for us to insist only on humanitarian or financial support,” Yoon told Reuters.
Zelenska’s visit highlights Ukraine’s need for support from other nations, not only for humanitarian aid but also for military and technological help. Zelenska expressed hope that South Korean companies would take part in rebuilding Ukraine, and Yoon pledged to “actively support Ukraine” in collaboration with NATO countries and the international community.
Zelenska’s activism in the face of a violent conflict
Since the beginning of the war with Russia, Zelenska has put forth a demonstration of great courage and dedication to lend her support to the people who suffer the consequences of the conflict. She has maintained diplomatic relations with global leaders and used her position to raise awareness of the plight of her citizens. The Ukrainian first lady has met with the US and the European Commission President and has decided to participate in various summits such as the Asian Leadership Conference in Seoul to find aid for Ukraine.
In conclusion, Ukraine’s first lady is taking matters into her own hands and traveling globally to advocate for her country that is trapped in war. South Korea now has to decide whether or not it will change its policy of not providing lethal weapons to countries in conflict and instead deploy air defense systems. Olena Zelenska’s request is an urgent call for help that will undoubtedly benefit the conflict region in the long run.