(CNN)Russian President Vladimir Putin has urged North Korea to learn from the demise of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and warned it could face a similar fate unless it turns away from its nuclear program.
Putin, speaking at the close of the BRICs summit in China on Tuesday, warned against “military hysteria” in solving the crisis on the Korean peninsula, claiming it could lead to a “global catastrophe with a lot of victims.”
North Korea has come under increased pressure since launching its sixth test of a nuclear weapon on Sunday with seismological data indicating the weapon was the most powerful ever to be detonated by Pyongyang, according to nuclear experts.
Putin says Pyongyang should take a lesson from history, invoking the tale of Hussein’s demise as dictator of Iraq in 2006 and the military onslaught that ravaged the country in the aftermath of his death.
“Saddam Hussein rejected the production of weapons of mass destruction, but even under that pretense, he was destroyed and members of his family were killed,” Putin said.
“The country was demolished and Saddam Hussein was hanged. Everyone knows that and everyone in North Korea knows that.
“Do you really think due to some sanctions that North Korea will turn away from the path they’ve undertaken to create weapons of mass destruction?
“Russia condemns this action from North Korea. We think these actions take a provocative character, but we should not forget and North Koreans should not forget what happened in Iraq.”
North Korea has faced global condemnation since Sunday when state media claimed it detonated a hydrogen bomb, also known as a thermonuclear weapon, which could be fitted atop a long-range missile capable of striking the United States.
Weapons experts say it’s almost impossible to verify if the warhead and missile could be successfully paired unless North Korea were to actually fire a nuclear-tipped ICBM.
‘Begging for war’
North Korea has test-fired a number of missiles this summer, including two long-range ones in July and an intermediate-range one in August that overflew the Japanese island of Hokkaido.
On Monday, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Kim was “begging for war” and urged the UN Security Council to adopt the strongest sanctions measures possible to stop Pyongyang’s nuclear program.
But Putin told reporters Tuesday that imposing any kind of sanctions on North Korea would be “useless and ineffective,” adding Kim would rather starve his people than see regime change.
“They will eat grass but they will not turn away from the path that will provide for their security,” he said.
“We know that North Korea has nukes, we also know that North Korea has long range artillery and it has other types of weapons and there are no weapons against long range artillery — and these weapons can be difficult to locate.
“So we think that this military hysteria will not lead to good results. It could lead to global catastrophe with lots of victims.”