North Korea’s nuclear arsenal prevents the U.S. from launching a preemptive strike against the rogue dictatorship because Pyongyang could retaliate, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview Sunday with the pro-Kremlin NTV channel.

The U.N. Security Council agreed another round of sanctions against Pyongyang earlier this month in response to North Korea’s missile program. On Sept. 15 North Korea tested a missile that flew over Japan and landed in the Pacific Ocean.

“The Americans won’t strike because they know for sure — rather than suspect — that [North Korea] has atomic bombs,” Lavrov said on Sunday’s interview.

“I’m not defending North Korea right now, I’m just saying that almost everyone agrees with this analysis.”