Russia says N.Korea embassy working 'as usual'

MOSCOW (AFP) - The Russian embassy in North Korea is not planning to evacuate its staff for now, a spokesman said on Monday, after threats from Pyongyang that it could not assure the safety of diplomats amid rising tensions with the West.

"The embassy of the Russian Federation is working as usual," spokesman for the embassy, Denis Samsonov, told AFP by telephone, adding the embassy was not planning to evacuate its embassy "so far".

Countries across Europe including Russia last week reported receiving a letter suggesting that their embassies pull out of Pyongyang following increasingly bellicose rhetoric from North Korea amid a spat with the United States.

Mr Samsonov said officials had taken note of the suggestion but were not planning any moves for now.

"Everything is calm in Pyongyang," he said.

South Korea said earlier on Monday that North Korea was preparing for a fourth nuclear test. Russian embassy spokesman Samsonov said he could not comment on those reports.

Russia shares a short border with North Korea and retains relatively close ties which go back to the Soviet era.

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