How to Enhance South Korea’s Support for Ukraine
March 15, 2023
This article was published on The Diplomat on March 15, 2023.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is now a little over a year old, and the conflict has transitioned to a war of attrition with little expectation that it will be resolved soon. With the conflict likely to continue, a key question will be how states such as South Korea can enhance their support for Ukraine to either end the war more quickly or help Kyiv better manage its economic and humanitarian effects.
South Korea moved quickly after the war began to support efforts to sanction Moscow. Seoul agreed to enforce U.S. and European Union export controls on strategic items, while extending those export controls to Belarus for its support of Russia’s invasion. Seoul has also supported the removal of some Russian banks from the SWIFT international payments system, while private cryptocurrency exchanges have also restricted the ability of IP addresses in Russia to access exchanges in South Korea.
Although not part of U.S. or European sanctions on Russian energy exports, South Korea has significantly cut its imports of Russian fossil fuels. Imports of Russian crude and refined petroleum products are down more than 70 percent by volume, while imports of LNG are down 40 percent over the last 12 months. Only imports of coal from Russia have grown.
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