The alliance emphasizes that they did not influence any of the countries.

“We are not forcing anyone to join NATO,” Dutch Admiral Rob Bauer, head of the NATO military committee, said while on a visit to Seoul.

Bauer did not rule out the possibility of new members joining the alliance, but, according to him, “Sweden and Finland should decide for themselves whether they want to join us.”

“It is the sovereign decision of any country that wants to join NATO to apply for membership, but they have not done so yet,” the admiral said.

He stressed that the alliance did not exert pressure on any of the countries in order to facilitate the provision of weapons to Ukraine.

During his visit to South Korea, Bauer discussed with the leaders of that country the war in Ukraine, as well as military cooperation between Seoul and NATO.

The visit of a high-ranking NATO representative coincided with a video message from Ukrainian President Zelenskiy to the South Korean parliament on Monday, in which he asked Seoul to provide military assistance to Kyiv, including armored vehicles and anti-aircraft missiles.

Admiral Bauer said that he had discussed Zelenskiy’s request with South Korean officials, but confirmed their position that for now they would only provide non-lethal assistance to Ukraine.

Bauer noted that NATO did not ask South Korea to provide weapons to Ukraine and that it depends on the decision of the South Korean government.

According to Bauer, the supplies of non-lethal aid, such as bulletproof helmets and medical kits that South Korea sends to Ukraine, are also of great importance. The head of the NATO military committee did not comment on reports that Russian troops could have used chemical warfare agents in Mariupol.