Russia is reported to be moving heavy military equipment toward its border with North Korea amid mounting fears of a military clash between Pyongyang and the United States, according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL).
Local media in Russia`s Far East say residents have witnessed large military convoys traveling by train and road toward the North Korean border since the weekend, RFE/RL wrote.
A video carried on local news site DVHab.ru shows a train carrying heavy military equipment, including Tor surface-to-air missile systems, traveling through Khabarovsk purportedly in the direction of Vladivostok, which is 160 kilometers from the border.
”This is the third train of equipment we`ve seen since this morning,” a man can be heard saying in Russian.
The website says local residents are in a ”panic” about the possibility of fallout from a nuclear bomb reaching Russia.
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Both the United States and North Korea have warned about the possibility of preemptive strikes, with Korean leaders recently warning that a nuclear exchange is possible.
Vostok Media said local residents have seen armored personnel carriers, helicopters, and other heavy equipment traveling south on the Khabarovsk-Vladivostok highway. A Russian military spokesman was quoted as saying it was part of ”routine” military exercises.
Meanwhile, the UN Security Council on April 20 strongly condemned North Korea`s latest missile test and threatened to impose new sanctions against Pyongyang for its ”highly destabilizing behavior.”
The council demanded in a unanimous statement that North Korea ”conduct no further nuclear tests,” adding that Pyongyang`s ”illegal missile activities” were ”greatly increasing tension in the region and beyond.”
The council threatened to ”take further significant measures including sanctions” to tackle the issue of North Korea`s missile launches.
While previous statements have warned of further measures, the agreed text made specific mention of sanctions, signaling a tougher stance from the council.
”If we have to start looking at sanctions or other actions, we will,” U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley told reporters.
The U.S.-drafted statement was agreed upon after Russia insisted that language stressing the need to achieve a peaceful solution ”through dialogue” was included in the final text.
Moscow had blocked an earlier version of the statement – which comes after North Korea carried out a failed missile test on April 16 – although China, Pyongyang`s only major ally, had expressed its support for it.
See also: North Korea says ready for any war scenario with U.S.