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Russia says North Korean missile was not ICBM, objects to US over such classification

Russia says a projectile recently test-fired by North Korea was not an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), as commonly believed, and has objected to the United States over describing the missile as such in a draft United Nations Security Council resolution.

Russia’s permanent mission to the UN objected to the US-drafted resolution condemning the recent North Korean missile launch because it classified the missile as an ICBM, according to internal communication leaked by Reuters.

“Based on our (Ministry of Defense’s) assessment we cannot confirm that the missile can be classified as an ICBM,” Russia’s UN mission said in an email to Security Council colleagues, Reuters reported, citing diplomats.

“Based on this information, Russia has proposed the US, as authors of the initiative, to make certain amendments to it,” the email further read.

Russia not ‘blocking’ resolution

The office of the Russian permanent mission to the UN later confirmed the e-mail as leaked, saying it could not agree with the text classifying the projectile fired by Pyongyang earlier this week as an ICBM.

It said data provided by Russia’s Defense Ministry indicated that it was likely a mid-range ballistic missile.

The mission said it would consider agreeing to the statement regarding North Korea only after the proposed amendments had been made to the US draft.

Security Council statements require the consensus of all 15 members.

The Russian mission, however, condemned the leak of the internal communication and the “misinterpretation” of Russia’s stance by Reuters, saying Russia was not “blocking” the resolution, as initially reported by the news outlet.

Meanwhile, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said on Wednesday that she planned to propose new sanctions against North Korea over the missile launch in the coming days.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley speaks at the UN headquarters in New York, July 5, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

“The international community can cut off the major sources of hard currency to the North Korean regime. We can restrict the flow of oil to their military and their weapons programs. We can increase air and maritime restrictions. We can hold senior regime officials accountable,” Haley said at a UNSC meeting.

North Korea has been under UN sanctions since 2006 over its ballistic missile and nuclear programs.

Pyongyang insists that its programs work as deterrence against potential US aggression.

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