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President Volodymyr Zelensky expressed his wish for South Korea to provide air defense systems to Ukraine in an interview published by the daily newspaper Chosun on May 30, stressing that it qualified as defense aid, not arms support.
When asked how he felt about South Korea providing only humanitarian aid thus far, Zelensky acknowledged he was aware that there were "several limitations" concerning South Korea's ability to supply arms to Ukraine.
"However, I believe that Korea's principles should not be applied to defense systems and power system protection equipment. Anti-aircraft systems are purely defensive equipment, not weapons. For the reconstruction of Ukraine, there must be a 'shield in the sky.' We sincerely hope that Korea will support us in this field," Zelensky added.
Aiding Ukraine in the development of its air raid alert systems was another possibility, the Ukrainian president added.
South Korea has experience in this realm due to missile threats from North Korea.
Since the start of the full-scale invasion, South Korea has already provided more than $230 million in humanitarian aid. The country also recently pledged to provide Ukraine with landmine removal equipment, which will "save the lives and limbs of countless farmers and children," Zelensky said.
During the interview, Zelensky drew parallels between the hardships endured by Koreans during the Korean War of 1950-1953 and those faced by Ukrainians in the wake of the full-scale Russian invasion.
"I want to learn from the experience of a country that went through war and conflict and rose from ruins. Korea is one of those countries," Zelensky said, noting that South Korea became one of the world's leading economic powers despite the devastation caused by war.
Regarding Ukraine's post-war prospects, Zelensky said that Ukraine and South Korea could also cooperate in the security and defense industries, advanced technology and cyberspace, and green energy.