Putin Threatens South Korea With Something They Won't Like If It Helps Ukraine

CREDIT: Office of the President of Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin used a press conference during his visit to Vietnam to warn South Korea that if it followed through on its public statement that it might begin weapons deliveries to Ukraine, "this would be a very big mistake."

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As for the supply of lethal weapons to the war zone in Ukraine, this would be a very big mistake. I hope that this will not happen. If this happens, then we will also make appropriate decisions that are unlikely to please the current leadership of South Korea.

This incident of Putin again writing checks his ass can't cash comes after a state visit by Putin to Pyongyang on Tuesday, where he signed a mutual defense treaty with Kim Jong Un.


BACKGROUND: Game Changer: Russia Signs Mutual Defense Treaty With North Korea


That agreement means what either party wants it to mean.

According to the text of the deal published by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency, or KCNA, if either country gets invaded and is pushed into a state of war, the other must deploy “all means at its disposal without delay” to provide “military and other assistance.” But the agreement also says that such actions must be in accordance with the laws of both countries and Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, which recognizes a U.N. member state’s right to self-defense.

We hear over and over how the famous strategist Putin was tricked into invading Ukraine, so North Korea invading South Korea again will inevitably be interpreted by Pyongyang as them having been "push" into war. Putin, who was in Pyongyang to pick up cheap ammunition and not a batsh** crazy ally, will probably see things differently.

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The South Koreans were unhappy with the development. They have not provided Ukraine with weaponry because they were trying to avoid a direct poke at Moscow, though Seoul was not entirely neutral.

Unlike North Korea, South Korea actually has an impressive ammunition production capacity.


BACKGROUND: Putin's War, Week 37. Kherson Liberated and Winter Comes – RedState


Seoul responded by saying it was reconsidering its policy. By the way, South Korea produces arguably the best tank in the world, an extremely effective self-propelled 155mm howitzer, and a rocket launcher system in the same class as HIMARS. It is on the way to becoming Poland's biggest arms supplier.

 South Korea said Thursday that it would consider sending arms to Ukraine, a major policy change that was suggested after Russia and North Korea rattled the region and beyond by signing a pact to come to each other’s defense in the event of war.

The comments from a senior presidential official came hours after North Korea’s state media released the details of the agreement, which observers said could mark the strongest connection between Moscow and Pyongyang since the end of the Cold War. It comes at a time when Russia faces growing isolation over the war in Ukraine and both countries face escalating standoffs with the West.

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I don't think Putin's hollow bluster will get the trained squirrel applause in Seoul that it will in many places. The South Korean public is much more hawkish on supporting Ukraine than the government, and this "line in the sand" Putin has just drawn is likely to force the government's hands—see page 7 of this Ipsos poll. And this is not the first time Putin has threatened South Korea. This is from my December 30 Ukraine war update.

Russia Threatens Japan and South Korea

South Korea is a major supplier of 155mm artillery ammunition to Ukraine; see Putin's War, Week 94. Putin Makes Shocker Announcement and the War in Washington Goes Into High Gear. Last week, Japan sold Patriot missiles to the US. Japan doesn't allow the transfer of Japanese weapons or weapon components to belligerents, but this lets US allies, like Poland and Germany, transfer US-made missiles to Ukraine while receiving replacements from the US that are backfilled by Japanese production.

The Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova threatened both countries with unspecified "grave consequences," and warned that Russia's response might be asymmetrical. Like forcing Russian hookers to return home?

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BACKGROUND: Putin's War, Week 96. Blowback From a Sunk Ship as Russia Launches Largest Missile Attack of the War – RedState


When South Korea does begin shipping weapons to Ukraine, then Putin has to make a hard decision. Does he want to look weak and ineffectual on another continent, or will he try to back up his words with action?

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