Sergey Lavrov's statement at a Rome news conference with his Italian counterpart on Friday came two days after Ambassador Nikki Haley said that if war breaks out over North Korea's missile tests, the country would be "utterly destroyed".
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The Kremlin yesterday called the latest missile test a "provocative action" and appealed for calm on all sides.
He added: 'We will do everything to ensure that [the use of force] doesn't happen so that the problem is decided only using peaceful and political-diplomatic means'. Moscow has been closely working with the U.S. on the North Korean issue, with several meetings being held between the countries' diplomats in the Russian capital and other venues, the FM added.
"If they want to find a pretext for destroying North Korea...then let them say it outright", said Lavrov, who also reiterated Moscow's view that "the pressure of sanctions has been exhausted". "In October, they announced large-scale unscheduled exercises [between US and South Korean forces], new drills are also announced in December - although in the regular context they shouldn't have been conducted until spring", he added.
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Lavrov described Russia's stance on the North Korean issue as "direct, honest and open".
"China would defend North Korea because it's an ally and because it's in China's strategic interests to have an allied Communist state as a buffer state rather than a Korean peninsula unified under a South Korean flag", she said.
Lavrov also reminded of the roadmap, jointly developed by Russian Federation and China, which implied rejection of any actions that fuel tensions and transition to negotiations.
A group of Russian MPs visited Pyongyang earlier this week in order to facilitate the resolution of the crisis. This is the first missile launch since the last one carried out by North Korea on September 15.
During the subsequent, combative session of the UNSC, Haley called on North Korea's neighbors to do more to enforce sanctions, while Russia's representative Vasily Nebenzia criticised Washington's use of sanctions and military exercises in the region.