Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk appealed to South Korea for military support for Ukraine, stating: “We promise not to use Korean weapons to attack the territory of Russia.”
Deputy Prime Minister Vereshchuk met with Hankook Ilbo in her office in Kyiv on February 25th and said: “We will use Korean weapons only to drive Russia out of Ukraine and to leave Ukraine alone”, and called on the Korean government to change its position on providing Ukraine with weapons. She added that, unlike Russia, which invaded Ukrainian territory and violated the sovereignty of an independent country, Ukraine does not want a single square centimeter of Russian land.
Deputy Prime Minister Vereshchuk is aware that the South Korean government is cautious about providing weapons due to concerns over worsening relations with Russia. She emphasized that “the tyrant (Russian President Vladimir Putin) does not think: “Since Korea did not give weapons to Ukraine, we will not fight Korea” and Korea has nothing to fear from Russia.
My husband and son are both at the front… “I am confident of victory”
This is Hanguk Ilbo’s second interview with Deputy Prime Minister Vereshchuk, the first one took place in July last year. She looked a little thinner than eight months before, and ended all her answers with the phrase: “We will definitely win the war this year.” This only means that as the war continues, the will to win is getting stronger.
Both the Deputy Prime Minister’s son and husband are at the front. Her husband was in Bakhmut, in the east, the scene of the fiercest fighting, and on the night of the 24th he returned to Kyiv. This means that Ukrainian leaders and their families are not running away from possible death.
In an interview last year, Deputy Prime Minister Vereshchuk referred to the construction of temporary housing for refugees as the area in which South Korea’s support and cooperation is most needed after military aid. In this interview, she said: “Cooperation for demining is extremely necessary because the Russian military has mined a huge part of Ukraine.” She emphasized: “Korea has a lot of experience in mine detection and clearance, and I know it’s got a lot of technologies.” The South Korean government’s recently unveiled humanitarian aid plan for Ukraine includes demining assistance.
Deputy Prime Minister Vereshchuk commented on Russia’s “quiet” commemoration of the anniversary of the aggression (February 24th) as follows: “It has become clear that the size of the Russian army is on the decline. It seems to be difficult for Russia to launch a large-scale attack that would turn the tide of the war in its favor.”
At the same time, she expressed concern about the military situation in the east of the country, where a war of attrition has been going on for several months. Deputy Prime Minister Vereshchuk emphasized that this is why more weapons should be delivered, and delivered faster.
“Let’s talk about peace in our third interview”
Deputy Prime Minister Vereshchuk reminded that Ukraine is carrying out large-scale reforms even during the war. President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky strictly follows the policy of “zero tolerance” to corruption in the government, including corruption in the military. Following the deputy defense minister, other heads of state have been dismissed on corruption charges. “President Zelensky will never compromise when it comes to corruption,” said Vereshchuk. “He constantly emphasizes to both the government and officials: “Don’t think that saying that this is how it was done in the past will work.”
Before the war, Deputy Prime Minister Vereshchuk worked, setting and implementing not only daily but also long-term goals. After the war started, it became impossible to plan anything. “Because you don’t know what will happen tomorrow,” she said. The official also constantly emphasized that “there is no doubt that Ukraine will win this year” and “we will win, we must win.” She said: “If I have an interview with Hanguk Ilbo again next January, I sincerely hope that I will be able to talk about Ukraine’s victory and peace then.”
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