September 18, 2023 13:36
South Korea will send two K600 "Rhino" minefield breaching vehicles to war-torn Ukraine.
The Rhino is a homegrown minesweeper that either clears up a rear area or clears paths through a minefield on the frontline.
Though not a lethal weapon, the vehicle is the most warlike equipment South Korea has so far sent to Ukraine.
"The government has decided recently to send two minesweepers to Ukraine as soon as possible in addition to an earlier shipment of old mine detectors," a government source here said Sunday. "This follows an urgent request and President Yoon Suk-yeol's promise to support Ukraine."
In a bilateral meeting at the G7 Summit in Hiroshima in May, Yoon promised his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy to send nonlethal equipment and give postwar reconstruction assistance. During a surprise visit to Ukraine in July, Yoon reaffirmed his promise to send more mine detectors and minesweepers.
The government made the decision after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, where the two sides are believed to have struck weapons deals.
But out of concern for the Russian reaction, the government will ask Ukraine to use the vehicles only for humanitarian operations.
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