Moscow, historically an ally of Pyongyang, says North Korea’s threats could provide a legal basis for military action against it.

Russia warned North Korea that its nuclear threats to the U.S. and South Korea could create a legal basis for the use of military force against the country, suggesting that Pyongyang’s few remaining allies are losing patience with the secluded nation.

“We consider it to be absolutely impermissible to make public statements containing threats to deliver some ‘preventive nuclear strikes’ against opponents,” the Russian foreign ministry said Monday in response to North Korea’s threats.

“Pyongyang should be aware of the fact that in this way the DPRK will become fully opposed to the international community and will create international legal grounds for using military force against itself in accordance with the right of a state to self-defense enshrined in the United Nations Charter,” continued the statement, translated by Itar Tass news agency.

In the statement, the Russian foreign ministry also criticized the U.S. and South Korea for launching the largest military exercise the divided peninsula has seen this week, saying they put “military and political pressure on Pyongyang.”

“Naturally, as a state, which is directly named as an object of this kind of military activities, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea cannot but feel reasonably concerned for its security,” the statement said.

Around 17,000 U.S. soldiers and 300,000 South Korean troops are participating in the exercises.

Pyongyang said the drills, which are set to run to the end of April, are rehearsals for an invasion.

Russia has historically had close relations with North Korea, meaning its warning could carry some weight with North Korean authorities.

Watch North Korea Threatens Nuclear Strikes Against South Korea, U.S.

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