By Su Hyang Choi

SEOUL (Reuters) – Seoul said Monday that Canada has asked South Korea to supply artillery shells, apparently to “replenish” supplies Ottawa is sending to Ukraine, increasing pressure on South Korea to provide lethal aid — at least indirectly. at least. bear war.

Canada has supplied Ukraine with the M777 howitzer that fires 155mm shells. Defense Minister Anita Anand announced last week that Canada would send an additional 20,000 155mm rounds from the United States.

A spokesman for South Korea’s Defense Ministry confirmed that Ottawa had submitted the request but did not provide further details, saying that “there is no formal process underway regarding the request.”

South Korea’s SBS channel, citing an unnamed senior South Korean Defense Ministry official, said the deal could include up to 100,000 shells from South Korean reserves, which are likely to be sold for less than their market value.

“We are actively pursuing a plan to ship 100,000 rounds to Canada,” the official told SBS.

Global Affairs Canada, which manages diplomatic and consular relations, and Defense Canada did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

South Korea is a major producer of 155 mm ammunition, with the K9 self-propelled howitzer dominating the international market. K9 is deployed by several European countries, including Finland, Norway and Estonia, but South Korea has said it has no plans to provide lethal aid to Ukraine.

South Korea provided humanitarian aid to Ukraine, sending non-lethal items including bulletproof helmets and medical supplies.

The government of former President Moon Jae-in has rejected requests from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to purchase armored vehicles and anti-aircraft, anti-tank and anti-ship weapons.

New South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, who took office on May 10, has signaled his interest in closer cooperation with Washington, fueling speculation that he would at least agree to provide lethal indirect aid to Ukraine.