Large-scale US-South Korea military drills dubbed Ulchi – Freedom Guardian do not contribute to de-escalating tension on the Korean peninsula, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.

“The conduct of new large-scale naval drills by the United States and the Republic of Korea do not contribute to the de-escalation of tension on the Korean peninsula,” the diplomat said.

“We urge all the sides to exercise extreme caution. As a result of beefing up the region with armaments, any reckless step or even an unintended incident may serve as a pretext for a military conflict,” the spokeswoman said.

Russia is ready to act as an intermediary in the Korean settlement process if needed, according to Zakharova.

“We have always argued in favor of galvanizing a six-party process as a model that will guarantee safeguarding of interests for different parties and, what is most important, achievement of the main goal of the peaceful settlement of the situation,” the spokeswoman noted. “If Russia’s mediation efforts are needed, we are ready and open for it, and we have contributed to stepping-up of the political process as much as possible.”

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