Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday cautioned global leaders against amplifying “military hysteria” over the North Korea crisis for fear of triggering a “global catastrophe."
Putin, speaking to reporters during a visit to China for the BRICS summit, urged a peaceful approach, which would involve both the United States and North Korea stepping back from threats of military action. He condemned North Korea’s latest nuclear test on Sunday, calling it “provocative.”
“Ramping up military hysteria will lead to nothing good. It could lead to a global catastrophe,” Putin said. “There’s no other path apart from a peaceful one.”
The Russian president also slammed the “useless” sanctions imposed on North Korea, and called the U.S. “ridiculous” for asking for Moscow’s help while sanctioning Russian companies.
"Sanctions of any kind would now be useless and ineffective,” Putin said, adding it leads to a “road to nowhere.”
“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,” he said. “This is being done by people who mix up Australia with Austria.”
Putin refrained from outwardly criticizing President Trump, but said the U.S. leader was “not my bride, and I’m not his groom.”
Putin added North Korea would “rather eat grass” than abandon its nuclear and missile program in order to feel safe among world leaders. He also claimed leader Kim Jong Un was convinced he needed nuclear weapons to survive after what happened in Iraq and Libya.
“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,” Putin said.
Russia and China, which both share a border with North Korea, have repeatedly called for all parties to return to the negotiation table for talks.
U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Monday North Korea was “begging for war” and “the time for half measures…is over.”
“We cannot kick this can down the road any longer,” Halley also said at the special U.N. meeting. “Enough is enough. War is never something the United States wants...But our country's patience is not unlimited.”
President Trump also tweeted the U.S. will be allowing Japan and South Korea to buy more “highly sophisticated military equipment” in response to Sunday’s alleged hydrogen bomb detonation. South Korean President Moon Jae-in is seeking to boost his country's military strength to include nuclear-powered submarines.
Seoul's defense minister said the idea of bringing back U.S. tactical nukes to South Korea should be "deeply considered" by the allies.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.