Kim Hyoung-cheol, director of the Europe-Asia division of the International Cooperation Bureau, confirmed that the Defense Acquisition Program Administration approved the transfer of the howitzer’s South Korean-made chassis. This is the first official confirmation that South Korea has indirectly provided weapons components to Ukraine. However, he stressed that the government’s stance is not to transfer weapons systems to Ukraine. The Krab is made up of components from several countries, including a South Korean K9 Thunder chassis, British BAE Systems turret, French Nexter Systems 155mm gun, and a Polish fire control system. Source: reuters
Why it matters
South Korea’s decision to provide Krab howitzers to Ukraine may fuel tensions with Russia, which called out Seoul for providing Ukraine with weapons. Despite growing pressure from the United States and NATO countries, South Korea has been reluctant to anger Russia, citing its laws that make it difficult to directly sell weapons to countries in active conflict. The head of DAPA has the right to decide what to export, but in practice, it’s up to the president’s will as well. South Korea’s sensitivity over the issue has been highlighted by a deal to sell 155mm artillery shells to the United States, negotiations for which are ongoing.
Poland would need further South Korean permission to provide any of the new weapons to Ukraine, including Chunmoo rocket launchers, K2 tanks, K9 self-propelled howitzers, and FA-50 fighter aircraft. South Korea’s reluctance to provide weapons directly to Ukraine is due to the possibility of Russia retaliating by selling aircraft to North Korea or transferring technology that North Korea really needs.