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Top S. Korean envoy to Russia attends Putin's inauguration ceremony: Seoul official

By Yonhap

Published : May 7, 2024 - 20:09

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Russian president-elect Vladimir Putin walks prior to his inauguration ceremony at the Kremlin in Moscow on Tuesday. (AFP-Yonhap) Russian president-elect Vladimir Putin walks prior to his inauguration ceremony at the Kremlin in Moscow on Tuesday. (AFP-Yonhap)

South Korean Ambassador to Russia Lee Do-hoon attended the inauguration ceremony of its leader Vladimir Putin, who began his fifth term as president on Tuesday (local time), Seoul officials said.

Lee's attendance at the event held at the Kremlin came in contrast to counterparts from South Korea's ally, the United States, and many Western countries that boycotted the event over its war in Ukraine. European Union nations were also divided over sending delegations to the inauguration, according to news reports.

The decision was made after careful consideration of various pending bilateral issues and the need to manage bilateral relations with Moscow, a source with knowledge of the matter said.

The government also reportedly took into account its responsibility to protect the rights and interests of South Korean nationals and businesses in Russia.

Whether to send a presidential letter to Putin for his reelection victory is still under consideration, a foreign ministry official said.

Bilateral ties between Seoul and Moscow have chilled since South Korea joined a U.S.-led move to impose sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

Russia has labeled South Korea as one of the unfriendly nations, calling for the withdrawal of a string of economic sanctions Seoul has imposed on Moscow.

Russia revealed early last month that a South Korean missionary has been held in the Lefortovo detention facility in Moscow since late February on espionage charges, a claim denied by the Christian aid group he works for. (Yonhap)