Russia has dramatically relocated 1,500 people from its border with North Korea after Kim Jong-un’s latest missile launch, it was reported today.
(DS) Russian civil defence officials were reportedly ordered to shift residents in the country’s far east to “safe areas” in a extraordinary move amid fears of a worldwide conflict.
North Korea angered the international community by launching a missile that flew directly over Japan.
In response, US President Donald Trump threatened the communist state with military action, warning “all options are on the table”.
As Trump reeled from the provocative test, thousands of people from the city of Vladivostok were moved as part of an emergency operation.
Russia President Vladimir Putin fears the US may wage war against the secretive state after Trump threatened to unleash “fire and fury” should it fire more missiles.
The order to evacuate residents “came from the regional department of the Russian Ministry of Emergencies”, according to pro-Kremlin media outlets.
Russia shares a 24 mile land border with reclusive North Korea.
The civil protection department in Vladivostok was instructed to relocate residents living in the border area with North Korea.
The relocation was later described as a “training exercise”, but it was unclear where the 1,500 were moved, according to FedPress.ru.
But it appears to have been triggered by the launch of a missile over Japan in the tinderbox region which has led to soaring tension in Asia.
“A relocation scheme is being exercised as part of the training,” said a source.
Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has warned that the North Korean crisis could morph into an armed confrontation and “lead the world to the brink of a catastrophe”.
Yet Russia also maintains political and business ties to Pyongyang.
Last month Russia held massive military drills involving 8,000 troops, 50 warplanes and 3,000 pieces of military kit in its east.
The war exercises took place in Russia’s eastern Transbaikal region – around 3,000km (1,300miles) from its border with North Korea.
Putin made a similar move earlier this year when he sent soldiers to Russia’s border with North Korea in anticipation of a bust-up.
Relations between Moscow and Washington have frayed in recent weeks after the US slapped Russia with more sanctions.
In response, Russia has refused to rule out military action if Trump approves further sanctions.
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