Russian Vessel 'Hijacked by North Korea' Prompting World War 3 Fears
Russia confirms boat and crew captured by North Korean ship
Kremlin officials have confirmed that a Russian yacht has been "hijacked" in neutral waters by a North Korean military ship.
A VHF radio message was received from the Katalexa in the Sea of Japan.
According to Russian maritime expert Mikhail Voytenko, the vessel had sent out a distress call stating that it had been "hijacked" and that the crew has been "captured and arrested by a North Korean ship".
Since the distress call was made on Wednesday, no further communication has been received from the boat or its crew.
The vessel had recently left South Korea while en route from Taiwan to Vladivostok, but Embassy official Denis Samsonov said the yacht is now in the North Korean port of Rason.
Express reports: The incident comes amid high tension on the Korean peninsula over missile tests Kim Jong Un's repressive regime which US defense secretary Jim Mattis this week branded the world's "most urgent and dangerous threat to peace and security".
Russia announced the deployment of the new-state-of-the-art Buk-M3 missile defense system in eastern Siberia in response to concerns over war breaking out in North Korea.
Moscow has expressed "profound concern" over recent North Korean missile launches which "serve to heighten tensions", with US warships already on patrol in the region.
A Russian foreign ministry official Vladimir Konovalov said of the yacht incident: "We can't yet confirm or refute this information."
Urgent representations have been made via Russian diplomatic channels to the North Korean authorities.
The sea rescue and coordination center of Primorsky region of Russia confirmed the fears the yacht has been seized for unknown reasons.
Russia shares a land and sea border with North Korea.
The Katalexa recently departed from South Korea en route from Taiwan to Vladivostok.
A source at Alye Parusa yacht club near Vladivostok - where the vessel was heading - said it was "in a good technical state soon after renovation" after repairs in Japan.
One year ago North Korea seized Russian yacht Elfin, which was released several days later without any explanations.