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South Korea to increase aid to Ukraine to $150 million

by Daria Shulzhenko July 15, 2023 4:22 PM 2 min read
President Volodymyr Zelensky and his South Korean counterpart Yoon Suk Yeol shake hands during their first-ever meeting in Kyiv on July 15. (Photo by Sergei Supinsky/AFP via Getty Images)
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During his first-ever visit to Kyiv on July 15, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol announced that Seoul will increase aid for Ukraine to $150 million.

"Last year, the government of the Republic of Korea allocated $100 million to support Ukraine. This year, this support will amount to $150 million," Yoon said during the joint press conference with President Volodymyr Zelensky.

"Last year, we provided bulletproof vests, helmets, and other necessary ammunition. We hope that this year the level of our help will be bigger," Yoon said.

He also noted that he and Zelensky discussed Ukraine's post-war reconstruction, adding that South Korea plans to allocate funds to help reconstruct Ukraine's infrastructure as well as support the country's entrepreneurship and education system.

Following his meeting with Yoon, Zelensky said they discussed economic cooperation, the peace formula, and food and energy security.

The two leaders also talked about the return of unlawfully deported Ukrainian adults and children as well as the Global Peace Summit, according to the president.

"During this visit, the first in the history of our relations, we are discussing everything that is important for the normal and safe life of people, for the rules-based international order," Zelensky wrote on Telegram.

"I am sure together we will give more strength to our nations and the global positions of Ukraine and the Republic of Korea," he wrote.

Yoon and South Korean First Lady Kim Keon Hee arrived in Kyiv earlier in the day. Prior to the talks with Zelensky, Yoon paid tribute to victims of Russia’s war in Bucha and Irpin, Kyiv Oblast.

"But Bucha and Irpin are only two of the thousands of Ukrainian cities that were hit by Russian terror. The scale of suffering and destruction brought by Russia is colossal," Zelensky said at a joint press conference.

"Therefore, the scale of global cooperation must be colossal in order to restore security and guarantee stable peace," he said.

Yoon's surprise visit to Kyiv comes right after both leaders took part in the annual NATO Summit in Vilnius.

South Korea has only sent humanitarian and economic aid to Ukraine so far, citing its government policy that bans the export of arms to a country at war.

In April, however, Yoon signaled readiness to consider sending lethal aid to Ukraine for the first time: Back then, he told Reuters that his government was considering ways to help defend Ukraine just like his country received help in the 1950-53 Korean War.

This Week in Ukraine Ep. 16 – Why is Ukraine still not in NATO?
Episode #16 of our weekly video podcast “This Week in Ukraine” is dedicated to Ukrainian culture, the important role it plays in war, and why it has been a target of Russian dictators for decades. Host Anastasiia Lapatina is joined by the Kyiv Independent’s culture reporter Oleksiy Sorokin. Listen…
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