If the war of words between the US and North Korea turns into an actual war on the ground, Russia will not be "surprised" and is already making "preparations", its security council chief said a day after the Kim Jong-un-led Pyongyang regime conducted its latest and most powerful missile test, triggering global outcry.
"We are making calculations, preparations. It will not be a surprise to us," Nikolay Patrushev, the head of Russia's National Security Council, told Russia's RIA Novosti on Friday, 1 December, calling for diplomatic solutions to prevent a nuclear war situation.
With the launch of the Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which travelled nearly 1,000km and reached a height of about 4,500km before falling in Japanese waters in the early hours of Wednesday, 29 November, Kim announced that his nation was now "capable of striking the whole mainland of the US".
US President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly said in the past that the "era of strategic patience" with North Korea has ended and that military action against the rogue nation was the only solution, exercised more restraint in his responses following the missile test. "We will take care" of the situation, the president reportedly wrote on Twitter.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson too said that diplomatic options still "remain viable and open" for North Korea, according to CNN. However, taking a more stern approach in dealing with the hermit kingdom, US envoy to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, warned that "the North Korean regime will be utterly destroyed" if there is a war with the US.
Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican Senator who also sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee in the US, told CNN soon after the missile test that if war is the only solution to stop North Korea, so be it. "If we have to go to war to stop this, we will. If there's a war with North Korea, it will be because North Korea brought it on itself, and we're headed to a war if things don't change."
Speaking about the war scenario, Patrushev said that Moscow has been weighing its options if a war were to happen anytime in future, but it would not be in the interests of Russia, which lies "effectively on the border with them [North Korea]".
"If there is military action, and you know that certain countries do not rule it out, then a range of different problems may follow, including for us," RT News quoted him as telling the Russian news agency.
Earlier this year, reports had emerged stating that Russia was mobilising troops and equipment along its border with North Korea in anticipation of a US strike. Media reports from April cited one video footage showing a train loaded with military equipment heading towards the 11-mile border and another video showing Russian military helicopter movements around the same area.
Condemning Washington's approach towards Pyongyang, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday, 30 November, that the US has been looking for an excuse to destroy North Korea by fuelling hostilities. Lavrov also accused the US military of staging war games to incite the North.