Mikhail Ulyanov, the head of the non-proliferation and arms controls department at Russia’s foreign ministry, says Russia is working ‘behind the scenes’ to solve the North Korean crisis. RIA news service said Ulyanov described a war on the Korean Peninsula as having ‘catastrophic consequences,’ and that the sanctions tool had been likely exhausted.
Russia has been quietly aiding North Korea via a web of shell companies on the border with the Stalinist state. Most analysts describe how China has a deep relationship and can wield influence on the North; however, Russia birthed North Korea under Stalin and still maintains strong economic and cultural ties.
Neither Russia or China want a capitalist, pro-Western state on their border so have propped up the North Korean regime for decades. Pyongyang plays the part of an irritant to the United States, keeping its forces engaged on the peninsula and away from focusing on other military threats.
Trump seems to be wanting to make North Korea such a problem for both countries that Russia or China will be forced to enforce its will on Kim Jong-un and halt his nuclear program. It remains to be seen whether this strategy will work or if Moscow or Beijing actually still have leverage over the North Korean junta.
President Trump obviously thinks the timing is now or never as North Korea will only get stronger as it develops weapons and will continue to threaten American allies in the region, as well as U.S. forces themselves.