One day after Russia Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov attempted to claim credit for the lull in North Korean ballistic missile tests in recent weeks, North Korea launched its most powerful ballistic missile to date.  One day after that, Russia’s Foreign Ministry attempted to blame the United States for the launch, citing America’s military presence in the region.

Today, against the backdrop of constant military activity by the United States and its allies in the region around the Korean Peninsula over the last few months, it is particularly important that the involved parties not provoke each other, but rather display restraint and avoid any new actions that could lead to the further escalation of tensions.” A statement on Russia’s Foreign Ministry website reads.

Earlier this week, Russia claimed the lull in testing was the result of the Chinese championed strategy of a mutual freeze of military aggression by both North Korea and the United States, and accused the U.S. of worsening relations by not following suit.  The test of an entirely new North Korean ballistic missile platform, the Hwasong 15, confirms that Russia was either lying about North Korea’s intentions, or were utterly ignorant of them, and chose to advance a narrative of their own fabrication that painted the U.S. in an intentionally negative light.

The supposition that Wednesday’s launch of this new platform was spurred by American drills in the Pacific throughout that 10-week lull is also fundamentally flawed, as the development of the platform, which is currently believed to have been a modified and improved Hwasong-14, must have been ongoing for months, if not years, prior to the test.  Russia, however, continues to attempt to mold the narrative in a manner that suits them, allocating more of their statement to calling on the U.S. and South Korea to halt military exercises, than to calling on Kim’s North Korean regime to end further ballistic missile testing.

In this connection, we urge the DPRK to stop its missile and nuclear tests. We also urge the United States and the Republic of Korea to refrain from holding unscheduled and unprecedented air force exercises as announced, in early December this year, which will aggravate an already explosive situation.”

They did, however, acknowledge that yesterday’s launch was a clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions, which amounts to the closest thing the Russian government has done in terms of condemning the launch that, according to Kim Jong Un, verified his nation’s ability to strike at the American mainland with a nuclear weapon.  Even in statements to the media, Russian officials have shied away from calling the launch anything more than provocative.

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Certainly, this new missile launch is a provocative act, which provokes further growth in tension and which moves us further away from the point where a settlement of the crisis can begin,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on a conference call with reporters.

Russia has continued to expand economic ties with North Korea throughout increasing sanctions being levied by the United Nations, and Russian President Vladimir Putin has even publicly called for an end to any economic sanctions on the aggressive state whatsoever.

 

Image courtesy of the Associated Press