U.S. Is Forcing North Korea War By Pressuring Kim Jong Un To 'Fly Off The Handle,' Top Russian Diplomat Says

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un watches the launch of a Hwasong-12 missile in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on September 16, 2017. KCNA via Reuters

Russia's top diplomat accused the United States Thursday of deliberately creating a context for a possible invasion of North Korea by pushing leader Kim Jong Un to take increasingly extreme measures to protect his totalitarian regime.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov took umbrage with Washington's approach to the ever-escalating threat posed by the North's nuclear and missile defense programs. He also questioned U.S.'s increasing sanctions on Pyongyang, and challenged joint military drills with South Korea, which he claimed the U.S. told Russia would be pushed back until next year.

"The latest U.S. actions look designed to deliberately provoke Pyongyang into taking new extreme action," Lavrov said while in Belarus, according to Reuters.

The drills, called Vigilant Ace 18, are scheduled to take place between December 4 and 8 and involve 12,000 U.S. personnel from across the entire military, the U.S. military announced last week. North Korea has labeled the drills as practice runs for a military invasion and overthrow of its government.

But Lavrov said Russia has been led to believe the drills would take place next spring, to enable a prolonged cooling off period for diplomacy.

"We were encouraged by that approach," he said. "And then suddenly ... they announced large-scale exercises in December. We have the impression that it was all done especially to get Kim Jong Un to 'fly off the handle' and take another reckless step."

The high-ranking diplomat also chided the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, for saying Wednesday that countries around the world should cut economic ties to the North and expel any North Koreans working in their nation. Russia has thousands of North Koreans working within its borders and is a trade partner with the regime.

"We regard this negatively," Lavrov said. "We have already said many times that sanctions pressure has exhausted itself."

Lavrov's comments came two days after the North successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM, which splashed down in the Sea of Japan after flying ten times higher than the International Space Station.

The first launch since September, the ICBM reached the highest altitude than any tested by the North. Experts believe such a missile could, in theory, have the range to strike Washington D.C. or New York.

Russia, along with China, condemned the launch, while U.S. President Donald Trump said the situation would be "handled."

Trump, known for demeaning and ominous rhetoric pointed at Kim, took to Twitter Thursday morning to suggest China's overtures with the North were not successful recently and repeated his nickname for Kim, "Rocket Man." He also mocked Kim's height, by referring to him as "little", for good measure.

The Chinese Envoy, who just returned from North Korea, seems to have had no impact on Little Rocket Man. Hard to believe his people, and the military, put up with living in such horrible conditions. Russia and China condemned the launch.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 30, 2017