Konstantin Kosachyov, the chairman of the Russian Federation Council's International Relations Committee, says Moscow has to keep pressure on both North Korea and the United States in the search for a solution to halt Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs.
Speaking to reporters in Moscow a day after the UN Security Council unanimously approved new sanctions on North Korea in response to last month's launch of a ballistic missile that Pyongyang says is capable of reaching anywhere on the U.S. mainland, Kosachyov said Russia was bound to push all sides to end the crisis.
"Russia and China offered two tracks of resolving the issue to de-escalate tensions: North Korea's abandoning its nuclear program and primarily the U.S. eliminating its military presence on the Korean Peninsula," Kosachyov told reporters on December 23.
"As long as none of these tracks develop, Russia not only has the right, it should continue pressuring both North Korea on one side and the U.S. and its allies in the region on the other. And we do this consistently, one thing does not contradict the other and one thing does not replace the other," he added.
The new sanctions approved in the UN resolution on December 22 include sharply cutting limits on North Korea's imports of refined oil and orders the repatriation of all North Korean nationals working abroad by the end of 2019.
Kosachyov said the unanimous vote approving the sanctions showed the international community was in sync in its view on the crisis, just "differences" on how to address the issue.
To prevent North Korea from circumventing sanctions, all countries were authorized to seize, inspect, freeze, and impound ships suspected of carrying illegal cargo to and from North Korea.
The United States hailed the adoption of the new sanctions after warning North Korea's leadership last month that it would be "utterly destroyed" if war were to break out.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shot back on December 21 by asserting in a speech that his country has "rapidly emerged as a strategic state capable of posing a substantial nuclear threat to the U.S."
With reporting by Interfax, TASS, and AP