North Korea: Russia Tells Trump To Be Bigger Person and Step Back

Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov addresses a news conference in Damascus, Syria. Omar Sanadiki/Reuters

Russia is urging the U.S. to step back from any nuclear one-upmanship with North Korea, whose government outlets have repeatedly threatened a strike on U.S. territory.

"The stronger and the smarter one will show restraint," Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Monday, state news agency Itar-Tass reported. "In the current situation any brash move could cause an explosion," the minister added.

North Korea has demonstrated an increasing missile range, boasted it can miniaturize nuclear fissile material to mount it on missiles and last week conducted another nuclear explosion test. U.S. allies in the region feel most directly threatened by the North's advancements and the U.S. sent its most advanced fighter jets to train with South Korea and Japan last week as a sign of assurance.

U.S. President Donald Trump and the official news services of the North Korean regime have traded barbs in recent weeks, revolving around threats of war and tailing off into personal insults of Trump's sanity, golf game and tweeting habit.

Russia has been much more moderate in its condemnation of North Korea's nuclear ambition—something it opposes in principle. Instead Russia and China have mostly derided both North Korea and the U.S. for raising the prospect of military confrontation.

Ryabkov kept up a similar line, stressing that "Pyongyang should cease its provocative actions" but also blamed Washington for responding to North Korea's nuclear program with punitive actions.

"Here a lot hinges on our American colleagues who, sadly, continue to largely show a willingness for talking in a language of sanctions and threats, rather than seeking a resolution through the means of diplomatic meetings," Ryabkov said.

Ryabkov warned that Russia will consider reinforcing territory in its far east should the U.S. continue with plans to reinforce South Korea and Japan's capabilities, specifically with the THAAD missile. He did not specify what Russia's deployment would be but that it would aim to find a "counterbalance" to increased U.S. capabilities.