Hours before hearing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky ask for military aid, the South Korean government said it had already turned down a request for arms.

South Korea had been able to repel the invasion by North Korea "because you were not alone," Zelensky told the National Assembly, according to Korea JoongAng Daily. "It was with a lot of help from the international community that you were able" to push back the North Koreans. "We need the same," he said, speaking via video link on April 11.

Only non-lethal assistance from Seoul

Hours before Zelensky's address, the South Korean Defense Ministry had confirmed its rejection of a Ukrainian request for anti-aircraft weapons, the Associated Press (AP) said.

The news agency said the South Korean government only provided Ukraine with non-lethal military supplies, such as helmets and medicine.

Aid from South Korea to Ukraine had totaled roughly $800,000, the Defense Ministry told Agence France-Presse (AFP). The ministry told the news agency that South Koreans could not give Ukraine weaponry without reducing their military preparedness. The AP noted that South Korea had joined the United States in responding to the War in Ukraine with sanctions against Russia.

'Mariupol is destroyed'

The AFP posted a video of an excerpt from Zelensky's 17-minute speech on Twitter. In the video, the president of Ukraine spoke about the hardship suffered in the southeastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol.

"There are tens of thousands of dead," he said, adding that the Russian military wanted "to make an example of Mariupol." The only way to stop Russian President Vladimir Putin was the use of military force, Zelensky said.

Low turnout for Zelensky's speech

Writing in The Korea Herald, Ko Jun-tae complained that most South Korean lawmakers had not attended Zelensky's speech in the National Assembly Library.

"Only 60 out of 300 legislators came," the journalist said, adding "and some of the attendees were seen leaving the room during the event."

Zelensky had previously spoken to 23 national legislatures and had been received with standing ovations, Ko recalled. However, the Seoul audience "only offered the kind of half-hearted applause associated with mandatory attendance," he said.

South Korean "indifference" to the plight of Ukraine was an indication "that South Korea is not ready to be a serious contender in the international community," the journalist said.

Putin says peace negotiations are at 'dead end'

On April 12, Putin had declared the peace negotiations between Ukraine and Russia to be at a "dead end." The Russian leader had promised to continue the war "until its full completion."