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Ukrainian Nobel Peace Prize laureate expresses concern about Kim-Putin summit

Sept. 12, 2023 - 20:10 By Yonhap
Oleksandra Matviichuk, a Ukrainian Nobel Peace Prize laureate who leads Ukraine's Center for Civil Liberties, speaks at the World Knowledge Forum in Seoul on Sept. 12. (Yonhap)

The upcoming summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is poised to present a significant challenge to the universal values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law, Oleksandra Matviichuk, a Ukrainian Nobel Peace Prize laureate, said Tuesday.

Kim arrived in Russia on Tuesday for a rare summit with Putin, raising speculation they may discuss the North's supply of ammunition and weaponry to support Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

The two leaders could attempt to convince the world that "democracy, rule of law and human rights are fake values," Matviichuk said during the annual World Knowledge Forum in Seoul.

The human rights lawyer who leads the Ukraine's Center for Civil Liberties depicted the war as a battle between authoritarianism and democracy, and called for international support for Ukraine to demonstrate that freedom and human rights can prevail.

She conveyed her gratitude to the people of South Korea for their support to Ukrainian citizens affected by the war.

She also highlighted the shared values between the two countries, rooted in their historical experiences of occupation.

Koreans must be more able to understand the Ukrainian people, she said, "Because you also know that occupation is not at ease, and you also have separated families and understand the pain."

Matviichuk pointed to an "accountability gap" as a major obstacle in bringing war criminals to justice.

"The International Criminal Court has no jurisdiction over the Russian invasion of Ukraine," she said.

"We have to create a special tribunal for Putin, (Belarusian President) Lukashenko and those surrounding the war accountable," she added, expressing her will to "change the global approach to justice regarding war crimes" for people suffering under authoritarianism, including North Korean citizens. (Yonhap)