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Sending weapons to Ukraine would be ‘big mistake’, Putin warns South-Korea

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President Vladimir Putin on Thursday warned South Korea that sending killer weapons to Ukraine would be a “big mistake.”

He said this after Seoul announced it would consider arming Ukraine in response to Russia and North Korea signing a mutual defense pact on Wednesday.

“If South Korea supplies weapons to Ukraine, it will not like the answer. I hope they won’t do it, it would be a big mistake,” Putin said at a press conference in Vietnam, where he is conducting a two-day state visit aimed at deepening strategic cooperation, Politico reported.

The controversial Russian leader was speaking in Vietnam, shortly after a lavish visit to Pyongyang where he signed a mutual defence agreement with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Putin also warned that Moscow is willing to arm Pyongyang if the US and its allies continue supplying Ukraine with weapons.

“Those who supply these weapons believe that they are not at war with us. I said, including in Pyongyang, that we then reserve the right to supply weapons to other regions of the world,” Putin said.

While Putin claimed the two pariah states’ defense treaty was “defensive in nature,” Seoul criticized the agreement, with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol calling it “absurd.”

South Korea has so far only supplied non-lethal aid to Kyiv. Bound by its Foreign Trade Act, the country cannot export weapons except for “peaceful purposes.”

If Seoul supplies Kyiv directly with weapons, it would be a radical shift in the country’s longstanding policy to only export arms to countries in peacetime — though its munitions have ended up in Ukraine via third countries, such as the U.S.

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