Russian Military Deploys Marines on North Korea Border Region After Kim Jong Un’s Missile Test

Russian marines have practiced landing operations at its border with North Korea, following Pyongyang’s controversial missile launch test this week, the Russian military said. Russian naval infantry servicemen and the crews of Russia’s Pacific Fleet ships Admiral Nevelskoy and Peresvet carried out a swift amphibious charge on a beachhead in the Primorye region, Russia’s only one to border with North Korea.

The cargo and staff boarded Admiral Nevelskoy at Desantnaya Bay and simulated the landing at the Klerk training range, both of which are in Primorye, Pacific Fleet spokesman Nikolay Voskresenskiy told state-run news agency RIA Novosti. Peresvet made its pickup elsewhere but also arrived in the area near Klerk.

Related: Russian spy jets fly over Sea of Japan amid North Korea tensions

The drill comes a day before the Russian Pacific Fleet kicks off a series of training exercises in Primorye and the far more eastern Kamchatka, involving around 1,000 troops and more than 150 items of equipment. The drills will involve live-fire exercises.

It is one of a series of recent drills in the Primorye region over the last few months. Russia has effectively practiced bombing, paratrooper landings and other maneuvers near the region since September. Each drill, declared separately from any previously announced war games, has come alongside escalating exchanges in the war of words between North Korea and the U.S.

11_30_Russian_marines Russian marines rehearse for the Navy Day parade in the far-eastern port of Vladivostok, Russia, on July 30, 2016. Following Pyongyang’s controversial missile launch test this week, Russian marines have practiced landing operations at its border with North Korea. Yuri Maltsev/Reuters

Moscow opposes North Korea’s nuclear program on principle and protested the regime’s latest missile launch. However, Russia has insisted that the U.S. must shoulder part of the blame for stirring the North Korean regime into a frenzy and “provoking” further tests with its ongoing defense commitments to nearby Japan and South Korea.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov renewed the accusation against the U.S. government on Thursday, saying that recent U.S. drills with its regional allies were “consciously directed at provoking Pyongyang to some new snap actions,” the Interfax news agency reported.

After this week’s test by the North Korean regime, Pyongyang has declared it has the entire U.S. mainland within its missile range, after a summer of testing warheads and rockets. This latest test, purportedly of the North’s new Hwasong-15 missile, was the first in two months.

The U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, announced that the White House was urging countries to cut trade ties with the regime in response to the test. Russia is one of the few states maintaining significant trade with North Korea, alongside China. India, the regime’s second-largest trading partner in 2015, declared it was banning commerce with North Korea last spring.

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