Ukraine, Stoltenberg in Seoul: “Kiev needs weapons”

NATO secretary general urges South Korea to step up its military support. Moscow: “After US tanks, there is no point in negotiating”

The NATO secretary general has urged South Korea to step up its military support for Ukraine. Speaking from Seoul, Jens Stoltenberg thanked the country for its aid to Ukraine, but insisted that there was an “urgent need for weapons”. “I urge the ROK to continue and step up military support,” he said. “In the end, it’s up to you to make a decision, but I will say that several NATO allies who have had a policy of never exporting weapons to countries in conflict have now changed it.”

While South Korea has signed major deals to supply hundreds of tanks, planes and other weapons to NATO member Poland since the start of the war, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol reiterated that the existing law against the supply of arms to countries in conflict makes it difficult to supply arms to Ukraine. But countries like Germany, Sweden and Norway, Stoltenberg noted, had similar policies but changed them. “If we don’t want autocracy and tyranny to win, then they need weapons, that’s the reality,” he concluded.

NEGOTIATIONS – On the Russian side, the shipment of arms distances the possibility of peace. In fact, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov ruled out talks with Ukraine or its allies. Now that the United States has decided to supply tanks to Ukraine, it makes no sense for Russia to talk to Kiev or its Western “puppeteers,” Ryabkov told Russia’s state news agency RIA. No one in the West, he added, has come up with serious steps to resolve the Ukrainian crisis. According to the deputy minister, “small steps” would be needed for Moscow and the United States to approach an agreement on bilateral issues. “We hope that the small-step tactic will allow us to arrive at mutually acceptable solutions on the most important issues on the bilateral agenda,” he said.

Ryabkov then defined as “an entirely possible scenario” the fact that the New Start treaty on the control of nuclear weapons between the United States and Russia could end in February 2026. Last November the talks that would have had to resume between Moscow and Washington to conduct new inspections under the New Start treaty. Neither side has agreed on a timetable for the new talks.

INTELLIGENCE GB – Moscow does not rule out a new round of recruitments as part of its ‘partial mobilisation’ measure. British intelligence writes this in its latest report on the situation in Ukraine, disclosed by the Ministry of Defense in London. “It is probable that the Russian authorities will keep open the option of another round of recruitments under the ‘partial mobilisation’,” it said. Kyrgyz with dual passports to leave Russia, because – so they said – their names appeared on the mobilization lists”.

“On January 23 – he continues – the Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov affirmed that the “partial mobilization” decree continues to remain in force, because it is necessary to support the work of the armed forces. Observers – he underlines again – wondered why the measure had not been formally revoked: it is very likely that the Russian leadership will continue to look for ways to raise the large numbers of troops needed for any future major offensive into Ukraine, while minimizing internal dissent.