South Korea and the United States reached an agreement on the loan of 500,000 155 mm artillery rounds. This was reported by Reuters.
Artillery rounds are consumables and are not usually borrowed with the hope of getting them back. But this kind of agreement is the most pleasant for South Korea, which does not supply Ukraine with lethal weapons, but in this way can replenish the reserves of the USA, which, in turn, will send its own rounds to Ukraine.
South Korea is a key US ally in the Asian region and one of the largest producers of artillery ammunition. At the same time, the country’s government officially declares that it cannot provide Ukraine with lethal weapons, referring to its own security situation against the background of the nuclear and missile threat from North Korea.
The U.S. government already bought 100,000 155mm rounds from South Korea last year and planned to buy the same amount or more in February 2023, but the South Korean government has found another way to supply ammunition – leasing. Exactly how this “lease” will work and whether South Korea will get its missiles back in a few years is still unknown.
Seoul and Washington have confirmed that they are also in talks regarding the supply of artillery, but there is no official information that it has been concluded yet. At the same time, South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin told reporters that he could not confirm the conclusion of the agreement and added that the government’s position against providing Ukraine with lethal weapons remains unchanged.
We will remind you that ammunition shortage is one of the urgent problems of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. That is why most of the last package of US military aid in the amount of $2.6 billion consisted of munitions. In addition, the US is trying to double its own production of 155 mm rounds, GMLRS missiles and FGM-148 Javelin ATGMs, and the European coalition is looking for 1 million shells for Ukraine.