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Russia warns against military activity near North Korea

by
North Korea leader Kim Jong-un (C) speaks while surrounded by soldiers in this undated still image taken from video at an unknown location i
North Korea leader Kim Jong-un (C) speaks while surrounded by soldiers in this undated still image taken from video at an unknown location i

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia said on Friday that heightened military activity near North Korea was slipping into a "vicious cycle" that could get out of control, implicitly criticizing U.S. bomber flights that followed threats from Pyongyang.

Foreign Ministry Sergei Lavrov suggested that North Korea should also cool down, calling on "all sides not to flex their military muscle" and avoid the danger of a belligerent response.

"We are concerned that alongside the adequate, collective reaction of the U.N. Security Council, unilateral action is being taken around North Korea that is increasing military activity," Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

"The situation could simply get out of control, it is slipping toward the spiral of a vicious cycle," he said when asked about tensions on the Korean Peninsula at a joint news conference after talks with his Ukrainian counterpart.

North Korea put its missile units on standby to attack U.S. military bases in South Korea and the Pacific, after the United States flew two nuclear-capable stealth bombers over the Korean peninsula following a barrage of threats from the North.

Russia supported new U.N. Security Council sanctions against its neighbor and former Soviet-era client state North Korea in early March, but Moscow has criticized actions taken outside the council, including U.S. and South Korean military drills.

(Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska; Writing by Steve Gutterman; Editing by Alexei Anishchuk and Alistair Lyon)

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