(Seoul) Whether or not to supply arms to Ukraine: for Seoul, the decision “will depend on Russia”, the office of the Korean presidency said on Thursday.

The office of South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said on Thursday that “South Korea could not sit idly by in the event of massacres taken seriously by the international community”.

“What happens next will depend on Russia,” a presidential official told reporters on condition of anonymity.

South Korean policy is generally not to supply arms to countries in active conflict, which makes it difficult to deliver arms to Ukraine, the same source said, adding that this was a a “voluntary” commitment.

“Unless civilians die en masse, our current position remains unchanged,” the presidential official added.

South Korea supported economic sanctions imposed on Moscow and sent humanitarian aid and non-lethal equipment to Ukraine. It has also recently signed major arms contracts with European countries, including Poland.

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol hinted in an interview with Reuters news agency on Wednesday that his country may supply arms to Ukraine.

“If there were a situation that the international community could not tolerate, such as a large-scale attack on civilians, a massacre or a serious violation of the laws of war, it might be difficult to insist on providing only a humanitarian or financial aid,” he said.

Russia reacted on Wednesday, warning Seoul.

“Unfortunately, Seoul has taken a pretty unfriendly stance in this whole thing,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

A “beginning of arms deliveries would indirectly mean a certain degree of involvement in this conflict”, he warned.

A US ally, South Korea is a growing international arms exporter, but has so far opposed any arms shipments to Ukraine.

A recently leaked US intelligence document describes the South Korean government as torn between its current lethal aid policy and growing demands from the West for weapons for Ukraine.

Mr. Yoon is due to travel to the United States on a state visit next week.