Photo: Reuters/Carlos Barria

US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that Russia was helping the North Korean regime get around a series of international sanctions, in effect negating the increased pressure China is putting on Pyongyang.

“Russia is not helping us at all with North Korea,” Trump reportedly said in an interview with Reuters in the Oval Office. “What China is helping us with, Russia is denting. In other words, Russia is making up for some of what China is doing.”

“[Vladimir Putin] can do a lot,” Trump was quoted as saying of the Russian president. “But unfortunately we don’t have much of a relationship with Russia, and in some cases it’s probable that what China takes back, Russia gives. So the net result is not as good as it could be.”

While Trump said he hoped the crisis could be resolved peacefully, he added that “it’s very possible that it can’t.”

“They’re not there yet,” Trump said of North Korea’s capability to deliver a nuclear-tipped missile to the continental United States. “But they’re close. And they get closer every day.”

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