South Korea has admitted it fired artillery shells that triggered an early morning clash with North Korea. However it says it was part of a military drill and denied it was directed at the North. Earlier Seoul blamed the North for what it called an unprovoked shelling of its island. Pyongyang claimed the South had violated its maritime border during the military drills. Seoul has since threatened its neighbour with what it called 'enormous retaliation'.
The Russian foreign ministry said the clashes are unacceptable and called on both sides to show restraint to prevent the outbreak of military conflict.
“What happened deserves condemnation. Those who initiated the shelling must accept responsibility. We insist that both sides must take measures to pacify the situation and prevent similar action in the future. Unfortunately, this is already the third incident of its kind this year. But this time, there’s a colossal danger of the situation descending into military conflict. This must be avoided. Russia has repeatedly warned of the growing tension in the region, and is now counting on both sides to arrive at a suitable conclusion,” Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.