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North Korea’s nuclear weapons are deterring US first strike, Russian official says

Russia's President Vladimir Putin, left, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov chat ahead of a meeting with Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro on October 10, 2016, in Istanbul, Turkey.

MIKHAIL METZEL/TASS/ZUMA PRESS/TNS

By ELENA MAZNEVA | Bloomberg News (Tribune News Service) | Published: September 25, 2017

MOSCOW — North Korea’s possession of nuclear weapons is preventing the U.S. from launching a first strike against the rogue nation, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Sunday.

“The Americans won’t strike because they know for sure — rather than suspect — that it has atomic bombs,” Lavrov said on Russia’s NTV television. “I’m not defending North Korea right now, I’m just saying that almost everyone agrees with this analysis.”

Lavrov said the U.S. attacked Iraq “solely because they had 100 percent information that there were no weapons of mass destruction left there,” rejecting arguments the American government made at the time.

Tensions between the U.S. and North Korea increased this weekend as President Donald Trump and North Korea Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho traded threats. On Saturday, U.S. Air Force B-1B bombers flew over international waters east of North Korea.

Lavrov said thousands of innocent people will suffer, in North Korea and in bordering South Korea, Japan and even maybe China and Russia, in the absence of a diplomatic solution.

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