Putin Warns U.S. Not to Use Force Against North Korea


Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned the U.S. not to use force against North Korea, adding that the consequences will be "catastrophic."

Speaking Thursday at his annual news conference, Putin said Moscow was encouraged to hear U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's statement about readiness for talks with Pyongyang, hailing it as a "realistic" approach.

He emphasized that Russia opposes Pyongyang's nuclear bid and is ready for "constructive" cooperation to end the standoff. He added, however, that the U.S. "provoked" Pyongyang to develop its nuclear and missile programs by spiking a 2005 deal with Pyongyang.

At the same time, he sarcastically noted that U.S. calls on Russia to help settle the North Korean crisis follow the U.S. sanctions that put Russia on par with Iran and North Korea.