Putin: Military hysteria over N. Korea may lead to planetary catastrophe, heavy loss of life

The examples of Iraq and Libya have convinced the North Korean leadership that only nuclear deterrence can protect them, so no sanctions can dissuade them, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

Pyongyang will not relinquish its military program under pressure of sanctions and military threats, because the examples of Iraq and Libya have convinced it that nuclear deterrence is the only credible way to ensure its security, President Putin told journalists on Tuesday.

“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.”

The 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq and the 2011 NATO intervention in Libya both came after the leaders of those countries submitted to international pressure and relinquished their programs of weapons of mass destruction in exchange for sanctions relief.

North Korea for its part chose confrontation with the world community, successfully developing nuclear weapons and currently, rapidly perfecting the means of their delivery.

“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.”

Russia to suggest deployment in Ukraine of UN-mandated troops to Security Council

Moscow supports the idea of deploying “security troops” acting under a UN mandate to eastern Ukraine and will submit a draft resolution on the issue to the UN Security Council, Putin said.

Russia sees the role of such troops as protection for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which monitors the stalled process of disengagement between Ukrainian troops and Donbass militias.

Subject to the consent of both parties, the mandate would be given for deployment along the disengagement line and a complete pull-back of heavy weapons, the Russian president said.

“If all these conditions are met, I believe such a deployment would certainly benefit the process of solving the conflict in south-eastern Ukraine,” Putin said.

Putin also commented on the planned supply of lethal weapons to Ukraine by the US, saying that the international consensus was that “supplying arms to zones of conflict does not help reconciliation and can only make the situation worse.”

He warned that in the case of the Ukrainian conflict more arms would not lead to a radical change, would only cause more casualties and potentially cause the conflict to spill over to other regions.

“The self-proclaimed republics have plenty of weapons, including those they seized from their opponents,” he explained. “If American weapons flow into the conflict zone, it’s hard to predict what the self-proclaimed republics’ reaction would be.”