After UN Ambassador Nikki Haley asked the security council to pass the “strongest possible” sanctions against North Korea which was "begging for war" following the isolated nation’s sixth nuclear test which took place over the weekend, Russia President Vladimir Putin has hinted that Russia may - and most likely will - use its Security Council veto power to stop any further sanctions from being implemented.
Putin, who is in China for a meeting of leaders from the BRICS countries, said that sanctions at this point would be “counter-productive” and that US threats of military action could trigger “a global catastrophe and a huge loss of human life,” according to Reuters. Some US diplomats have quietly agreed with the Russian leader, noting that if the barrage of already imposed sanctions on Pyongyang hasn't changed the country's behavior, then any incremental actions would likely have no impact either.
PUtin added that Pyongyang wouldn’t halt its nuclear tests until it "felt secure." More details:
“Ramping up military hysteria in such conditions is senseless; it’s a dead end,” he added. “It could lead to a global, planetary catastrophe and a huge loss of human life. There is no other way to solve the North Korean nuclear issue, save that of peaceful dialogue.”
His remarks followed similar statement from China, which chafed at the notion that the US would seek to punish all countries that trade with the North, and similarly suggested that it too would veto any further sanctions on North Korea.
“Russia condemns North Korea’s exercises, we consider that they are a provocation ... (But) ramping up military hysteria will lead to nothing good. It could lead to a global catastrophe,” he told reporters. “There’s no other path apart from a peaceful one.”
Putin’s remarks followed South Korea which said it had agreed with the US to scrap a weight limit on its warheads, helping it respond to the North Korea threat after Pyongyang conducted its sixth and largest nuclear test two days ago. While Putin described further sanctions as “the road to nowhere,” he said Russia was prepared to discuss “some details” around the issue, without elaborating.
According to Bloomberg, even before North Korea detonated its most powerful nuclear bomb on Sunday, Japan was calling for moves to cut off its oil supply. However, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang dodged a question at a briefing in Beijing about whether his nation would consider limiting oil shipments to North Korea.
“The actions and reactions of the Security Council will depend on the conclusions reached through debate by its members,” Geng said, according to an official transcript. “China will promote denuclearization and the maintenance of stability on the peninsula, and promote solving problems on the peninsula through dialogue and consultation.”
The Russian leader also lashed out at the United States, saying it was preposterous for Washington to ask for Moscow’s help with North Korea after sanctioning Russian companies whom U.S officials accused of violating North Korea sanctions. Putin also blasted Washington for imposing more sanctions against Russian entities. A few days ago, Russia was forced to withdraw diplomats from the US after the Trump administration shuttered three Russian consulates.
“It’s ridiculous to put us on the same (sanctions) list as North Korea and then ask for our help in imposing sanctions on North Korea,” said Putin. “This is being done by people who mix up Australia with Austria,” he added.
In a tweet, President Donald Trump floated the idea of sanctioning any country or entity that trades or does any kind of business with the North. For Moscow, that would mean stopping the use of North Korean laborers, tens of thousands of whom work in Russia, and halting fuel supplies to Pyongyang. Russia has so far refused to consider doing either. According to RT, Putin warned that the North would never stop its nuclear program.
“As I told my colleagues yesterday, they will eat grass but will not stop their program as long as they do not feel safe,” Putin said. “What can restore their security? The restoration of international law.”
For their part, North Korea’s ambassador warned that the US will receive more “gift packages” as long as it continues to threaten the DPRK.