Russia warns against flexing muscle around North Korea

Sergei Lavrov

Newscast Media MOSCOW—Russia cautioned against aggressive posturing in response to increasingly bellicose North Korean rhetoric on Friday, saying that it could spiral into violence.

“We are alarmed that along with the adequate reaction from the UN Security Council and the collective reaction of the international community, unilateral action is being taken around North Korea that involves increased military activity,” Lavrov told reporters after talks with his Ukrainian counterpart Leonid Kozhara.

Lavrov did not single out any specific country, but urged all sides involved in the Korean standoff to refrain from muscle-flexing. This appeared to be a reference to the recent flare-up in tensions between
Pyongyang and Washington in the wake of joint US-South Korean military exercises close to the border.

South Korea and the United States began annual large-scale military exercises, codenamed Key Resolve, on March 11. The drills involve 10,000 South Korean and 3,500 US troops. Prior to the exercises, Pyongyang threatened the United States with a preemptive nuclear strike amid warnings that it plans to terminate the Korean War Armistice Agreement.

It warned of retaliatory countermeasures if the United States and South Korea went ahead with the drills. The United States on Thursday dispatched two nuclear-capable B-2 stealth bombers on an “extended deterrence” practice run over South Korea.

US officials said the exercise should serve “to demonstrate very clearly the resolve of the United States to deter against aggression on the Korean Peninsula.”

North Korea responded on Friday by placing its strategic rocket forces on standby to strike US and South Korean targets.

Source: Ria Novosti

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