Former Republic of Korea Navy Special Warfare Flotilla (UDT/SEAL) Captain Lee Geun, who participated in the Ukrainian International Volunteer Army, returned to Korea through Incheon International Airport on the morning of May 27.
He returned home to receive treatment for his injuries after about three months after leaving the country to fight against the Russian army that invaded Ukraine in early March.
Lee said, “I saw a lot of criminal activities in the war. Seeing it with my own eyes, I felt that I had made the right decision.”
Former Captain Lee arrived at Incheon International Airport around 7:30 am on the same day.
When asked about the situation in Ukraine in front of reporters, he said, "The situation in Kyiv was bad when I first arrived. They asked me if I was an officer, and when I said yes, they immediately set up a special forces team. They told me to go to Irpin. It was my first fight there.”
Regarding the massacre of civilians, he said, “I saw a vehicle on the roof while subduing the enemy. An (Ukraine) driver collapsed after being shot by Russian soldiers. It was my first mission, my first battle, and I felt bad.”
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has accused Lee to the police on charges of violating the Passport Law.
According to the Article 26 of the Passport Act, imprisonment for not more than one year or a fine of not more than 10 million won can be imposed.
Former Captain Lee said, "They said they would quarantine me for a week and investigate later. I will cooperate with the investigation and be punished.”
However, "I think of the Passport Law as a traffic law," he said. "I went to Ukraine to protect people. I violated the law, but it had a more important role to play.”
Some rumors circulated that Lee was given Ukrainian citizenship to avoid punishment.
He said, “I was there for about three months, and I played a lot of missions and fought for a long time.”
“Of course,” he said, “They proposed me to give citizenship, land and many benefits. But I said I would not accept citizenship. I don't think it's right to receive citizenship to avoid fines and trial."
Lee said, “I still have a Ukrainian military ID. I came here in Korea to recover from an injury. My heart wants to go back (to Ukraine)”
He also said, “There is a lot of work to be done because the war is not over yet. I want to go back to Ukraine because I feel like we have to fight harder and we have to fight in the future.”
However, Lee's return to Ukraine seems to be difficult. Immediately after Lee returned to Korea, the police banned him from leaving the country.