Putin: North Korean nuclear crisis could cause ‘planetary catastrophe’

The Russian president has warned that the escalating North Korean crisis could cause a ‘planetary catastrophe’ and huge loss of life.

On Sunday, North Korea carried out its sixth and most powerful nuclear test to date. The blast triggered a magnitude-6.3 earthquake.

Putin was attending the Brics summit, which brought together the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Speaking on the final day of the summit he said Russia condemned North Korea’s provocations but said further sanctions would be useless and ineffective.

He said foreign interventions in Iraq and Libya had convinced the North Korean leader that he needed nuclear weapons to survive.

Putin’s warning came as South Korea refused to rule out deploying US tactical nuclear weapons on its territory, a move that could harm efforts to ease tensions as signs emerged the Pyongyang was preparing to launch another intercontinental ballistic missile.

Putin said: “Ramping up military hysteria in such conditions is senseless; it’s a dead end.

“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.

“We all remember what happened with Iraq and Saddam Hussein. His children were killed, I think his grandson was shot, the whole country was destroyed and Saddam Hussein was hanged. We all know how this happened and people in North Korea remember well what happened in Iraq.

“They will eat grass but will not stop their [nuclear] programme as long as they do not feel safe.”

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