Russian President Vladimir Putin has deployed military forces to North Korea in anticipation of a U.S. invasion “any day now” according to reports.
A video shows three train loads of military equipment and troops amassing along the 11-mile Russian-North Korean border, as fears mount that World War 3 is around the corner.
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There have been concerns that if a conflict breaks out Russia could face a humanitarian exodus from North Korea.
But President Putin has been warned, too, that in the event of a US strike on Kim Jong-un’s nuclear facilities, contamination could swiftly reach Russia.
“Railway trains loaded with military equipment moving towards Primorsky region via Khabarovsk have been noticed by locals,” said a report.
“The movement of military equipment by different means of transport to southern areas is being observed across Primorsky region over the past week,” said military veteran Stanislva Sinitsyn.
“Many relate this to the situation in the Korean peninsula.
“The video shows artillery systems that either support troops in assault or meet the aggressor.”
He said: “The movement of military equipment means that authorities of our country are keeping up with the situation – and take appropriate measures.”
The movements were “a preventive but necessary” measure.
“If the situation worsens, especially related to military events, the armed forces of all the neighbouring countries obviously monitor it more closely, and we are no exception.
“It is not the first time that North Korea has broken the peace in the region, that’s why this situation deserves attention.”
Russian military spokesman Alexander Gordeyev declined to give the exact reasons for the troop and equipment movements but said exercises had recently ended in the TransBaikal region of Siberia.
However, a number of local sources appear to believe the movements are linked to the Korean crisis.
The naval port of Vladivostok – where Russia has huge military forces – is fewer than 100 miles from North Korea.
Expert on the repressive state, Konstantin Asmolov, said: “Should the US strike with missiles at North Korea’s nuclear facilities, a radioactive cloud will reach Vladivostok within two hours.”
Asmolov, from the Russian Far Eastern Institute, warned that in the event of full-scale war “hungry asylum seekers will flood into Russia.”
Russia on Wednesday blocked UN Security Council condemnation of Pyongyang’s latest missile test – even though China, which has a major frontier with North Korea had backed the strongly-worded statement put forward by the United States.
The proposed statement would have demanded that North Korea “conduct no further nuclear tests” and halt missile launches .
Pyongyang carried out a failed test on Sunday.
Russia wanted to include language contained in a previous statement stressing the need to achieve a solution through dialogue, according to council diplomats.
Moscow’s deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov said: “Unfortunately, we have to admit that the risk of a serious conflict in this region has substantially increased.”
He called for a “demonstration of responsibility” from all sides to avoid escalation.