Russia has sent troops and equipment to its border with North Korea, as the United States and North Korea trade threats of military attacks against one another.
Video footage has emerged appearing to show trains carrying heavy military equipment, including armored personnel carriers and helicopters, toward Russia’s southeast on the Khabarovsk-Vladivostok highway on Saturday and Sunday, local media reported.
The city of Vladivostok, which hosts Russia’s Pacific Fleet, is just 100 miles from the North Korean border.
“Some say the situation around North Korea is fiction, but this is the third train of equipment we’ve seen since this morning,” a man can be heard saying in the video. “Looks like something is being sent to the Korean border.”
One of three trains filmed was also loaded with Tor surface-to-air missiles. It was reportedly traveling through Khabarovsk in the direction of Russia’s border with the North.
Another video apparently shows the movement of at least military helicopter and army combat vehicles movements towards the North Korean border.
A spokesman for the Eastern Military District, Colonel Alexander Gordeev, said that the Tor missiles filmed in the region were likely returning from exercises last month in neighboring Buryatia.
An image grabbed from footage purportedly shows Russian a military helicopter moving toward Russia’s border with North Korea. The Russian government on Friday declined to comment on the reports. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said deployments of Russian troops inside Russia’s own borders were not a public matter. China too mobilized its forces.
Meanwhile, South Korean media reported that China has moved an extra 150,000 troops to its own border with the North.
Fears over an imminent military clash between the US and North Korea have been on the rise since the US announced last week that it has dispatched a strike group, including an aircraft carrier, to the Korean Peninsula in response to Pyongyang’s “provocations.”
North Korea’s rapidly developing missile and military nuclear programs have unnerved Washington. The presence of US forces in the region and repeated threats of military action by Washington have on the other hand angered the North.
On Thursday, the official newspaper of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party warned that the country would launch a “super-mighty preemptive strike” against the US. It said North Korea had developed a missile that could reach the US mainland “and reduce them to ashes.”
The threat to launch the “preemptive” strike came in response to comments by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who said on Wednesday that Washington was looking for ways to “bring pressure” on the North to give up its military nuclear program.
North Korea has so far conducted five confirmed nuclear tests and numerous missile test-launches.—Agencies