Vladimir Putin has said a war in Korea could be more devastating than the Chernobyl disaster as Pyongyang was warned against another nuclear test.
The Russian President said he was “worried about the escalation on the Korean peninsula, because we are neighbours”.
And Mr Putin, who also praised a US decision to postpone a planned missile test as part of efforts to reduce tensions, said he feared a situation worse than that in Chernobyl after a nuclear accident that was later linked to thousands of deaths.
“If, God forbid, something happens, Chernobyl which we all know a lot about, may seem like a child’s fairy tale,” he said.
“Is there such a threat or not? I think there is … I would urge everyone to calm down … and start to resolve the problems that have piled up for many years there at the negotiating table.”
His intervention came after United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the North not to carry out a new nuclear test – saying it would be a “provocative” act.
South Korea raised fears a fourth test was due amid reports of increased activity at the main atomic test site Punggye-ri but later backtracked.