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Yoon makes surprise visit to Ukraine to meet Zelenskyy

By Shin Ji-hye

Published : July 15, 2023 - 16:09

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President Yoon Suk Yeol and first lady Kim Keon Hee, who made a surprise visit to Ukraine after an official state visit in Warsaw, the capital of Poland, visit the site of the bombing of a private house in Irpin near Kyiv on Saturday. (Yonhap) President Yoon Suk Yeol and first lady Kim Keon Hee, who made a surprise visit to Ukraine after an official state visit in Warsaw, the capital of Poland, visit the site of the bombing of a private house in Irpin near Kyiv on Saturday. (Yonhap)

WARSAW, Poland -- President Yoon Suk Yeol and first lady Kim Keon Hee are in Kyiv to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in a highly secretive visit made after the Korean president's official visit to Poland, the presidential office said Saturday.

The couple arrived in Kyiv on Saturday morning, and traveled to Bucha, a town on the outskirts of Kyiv where Russian troops carried out atrocities early on in the war. He also visited nearby Irpin, where civilian areas were subjected to concentrated missile attacks during the initial invasion.

Yoon is to visit a memorial dedicated to the victims of the war, and is set to hold a summit with the Ukrainian leader later on.

Yoon has repeatedly been invited by Ukraine.

President Yoon Suk Yeol and first lady Kim Keon Hee, who made a surprise visit to Ukraine after an official state visit in Warsaw, the capital of Poland, inspect the bombing site of a private house in Irpin near Kyiv on Saturday. (Yonhap) President Yoon Suk Yeol and first lady Kim Keon Hee, who made a surprise visit to Ukraine after an official state visit in Warsaw, the capital of Poland, inspect the bombing site of a private house in Irpin near Kyiv on Saturday. (Yonhap)

The presidential office accepted Ukraine’s offer of Yoon’s visit believing that the invitation conveys “the country’s expectation on South Korea’s role in the war in Ukraine,” a senior presidential official said.

He added that Yoon made his decision to visit the country after much deliberation on security, safety and necessity of the visit.

The two are expected to discuss security cooperation and reconstruction efforts.

They held their first summit on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan, in May.

The visit came after Yoon wrapped up his official visit to Poland. Before that, he was in Lithuania to attend the NATO Summit as an observer.

President Yoon Suk Yeol and first lady Kim Keon Hee, who made a surprise visit to Ukraine on Saturday after an official state visit from Warsaw, the capital of Poland, pay a silent tribute at the graves of victims of Bucha, a town on the outskirts of Kyiv where Russian troops carried out atrocities early on in the war. (Yonhap) President Yoon Suk Yeol and first lady Kim Keon Hee, who made a surprise visit to Ukraine on Saturday after an official state visit from Warsaw, the capital of Poland, pay a silent tribute at the graves of victims of Bucha, a town on the outskirts of Kyiv where Russian troops carried out atrocities early on in the war. (Yonhap)