Pentagon asks US forces in South Korea to provide equipment for Ukraine

The statement comes after the New York Times reported earlier this week the United States was diverting munitions from Israel and South Korea to Ukraine for use in the war against Russia.

 The Pentagon (Aerial view)  (photo credit: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/ TOUCH OF LIGHT)
The Pentagon (Aerial view)
(photo credit: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/ TOUCH OF LIGHT)

The US Department of Defense has asked its forces stationed in South Korea to provide equipment to help Ukraine in the war against Russia, the US military said on Thursday, adding the move has "zero impact" on its operations in the Asian country.

US Forces Korea (USFK), which has some 28,500 troops in South Korea, said the move is part of US efforts to help Ukraine with its inventories.

"This has zero impact on our operations and our ability to execute on our ironclad commitment to the defense of our ally, the Republic of Korea," USFK spokesperson Col. Isaac Taylor said in a statement.

USFK declined to provide further details, including what types of equipment and how much has been requested or already transferred.

"This has zero impact on our operations and our ability to execute on our ironclad commitment to the defense of our ally, the Republic of Korea."

Col. Isaac Taylor, USFK spokesperson

The statement comes after the New York Times reported earlier this week the United States was diverting munitions from Israel and South Korea to Ukraine for use in the war against Russia. Moscow calls its actions in Ukraine "a special operation."

 A Ukrainian serviceman is seen at a frontline, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kherson region, Ukraine January 4, 2023. (credit: Oleksandr Ratushniak/Reuters) A Ukrainian serviceman is seen at a frontline, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kherson region, Ukraine January 4, 2023. (credit: Oleksandr Ratushniak/Reuters)

South Korea-US coordination

Asked about the report, Seoul's defense ministry said it was closely coordinating with the United States to maintain a readiness posture.

South Korea's policy is not to supply lethal weapons to Ukraine. Seoul has sought to avoid antagonizing Russia, both for economic reasons and because of the influence that Moscow can exert with North Korea.

A US official said in November Washington was in talks with South Korea to buy artillery shells to send to Ukraine, though Seoul insisted that the United States must be the ammunition's end-user.