Seoul, South Korea

NATO Secretary Common Jens Stoltenberg on Monday requested South Korea to rethink its rule on not exporting weapons to international locations in battle so it may assist arm Ukraine in repelling Russia’s invasion.

“I urge the Republic of Korea to proceed and to step up the precise challenge of navy help,” he mentioned in a query and reply session after a speech to the Chey Institute for Superior Research in Seoul.

“A number of NATO allies who had as a coverage by no means to export weapons to international locations in battle have modified that coverage now,” Stoltenberg mentioned, citing Germany, Norway and NATO applicant Sweden as these which have modified their arms export insurance policies to assist Ukraine.

“After the brutal invasion of Ukraine, these international locations modified their coverage as a result of they realized that if you end up going through a brutal invasion the place an enormous energy – Russia – invades one other one in a blatant manner as we’ve got seen in Ukraine, if we consider in freedom, if we consider in democracy, if we don’t need autocracy and tyranny to win, then they want weapons.

“When the full-fledged invasion occurred final yr, many international locations modified their coverage as a result of they realized that the one technique to get up for democracy, to assist Ukraine prevail, and to create the situations for an enduring peace was to ship navy help.”

Navy assist for Ukraine acquired an enormous increase final week when Germany mentioned it will ship 14 of its Leopard 2 tanks to Kyiv, whereas additionally allowing different international locations that possess the Leopards, together with Norway, to provide them.

The Leopard 2 is a subsequent technology tank that’s each agile and fast, regardless of being outfitted with superior protecting armor and long-range firepower. It’s thought of among the many greatest on the planet and superior to something Russia has deployed in Ukraine.

Along with the Leopards, Ukraine is ready to obtain heavy armor from each america, which is sending 31 M1 Abrams tanks, and the UK, which has pledged 14 Challenger tanks.

Some consultants say the South Korean K2 Panther can also be in that group of prime tanks and could possibly be helpful for Ukraine.

However a South Korean presidential decree that enforces the nation’s International Commerce Act says its exports can solely be used for “peaceable functions” and “shall not have an effect on worldwide peace, security upkeep, and nationwide safety.”

South Korea can also be a signatory to the United Nations’ Arms Commerce Treaty, ratified in 2014 with the intention of maintaining shut management on who will get weapons and beneath what situations they can be utilized.

However that doesn’t imply South Korea’s arms business isn’t seeing a job in Ukraine’s warfare with Russia.

In December, a US protection official instructed CNN that Washington intends to purchase 100,000 rounds of artillery ammunition from South Korean arms producers to supply to Ukraine.

The rounds can be transferred to Ukraine by way of the US, permitting Seoul to stay to its public pledge that it will not ship deadly assist to the war-torn nation.

And one of many greatest navy supporters of Ukraine – Poland – signed a significant weapons cope with South Korea final yr for tons of of tanks and howizters and dozens of fighter jets.

The deal will allow Poland to interchange most of the weapons that Warsaw has despatched to Kyiv.

Stoltenberg mentioned Monday that it’s crucial that democracies should stand with Ukraine for so long as it takes for Kyiv to win the warfare.

“As a result of if if [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin wins, the message to him and different authoritarian leaders can be that they will get what they need with using drive,” he mentioned. “This might make the world extra harmful and us extra weak.”

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