Russia effectively slapped its own sanctions on North Korea earlier this week when its state-run energy firm Gazprom severed ties with the North, Seoul's top envoy to Moscow said Friday.
Ambassador Park Ro-byug's remarks came a day after Russia dismissed the United States' new sanctions on Pyongyang, saying it does not recognize unilateral pressure. A spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry instead called for adherence to U.N.
Security Council sanctions adopted earlier this month with Russian approval.
"Russia's stance is that the Security Council sanctions should be implemented, nothing else," Park said during a luncheon with local reporters.
Pointing to Gazprom's recent decision, however, he noted there is a trend toward unilateral sanctions too.
"They're effectively doing it. A lot of things aren't disclosed," the ambassador said.
Park especially stressed the significance of Gazprom's decision at a time when trade and other ties between Russia and North Korea are weak.
"Because there are few ties between the two sides, there are few tools that can be used as leverage" against Pyongyang, he said.
China and Russia have traditionally opposed strong punitive measures against Pyongyang over concerns they could aggravate tensions in the region and spark instability in the North.
In a departure from their previous stance, however, the two veto-wielding permanent members of the Security Council this month endorsed a new resolution imposing the toughest yet sanctions on the North over its fourth nuclear test in January and long-range rocket launch last month. They include a ban on North Korea's exports of coal and other mineral resources, which serve as a key source of hard currency for the cash-strapped regime.
On Seoul's decision to suspend a trilateral logistics project involving North Korea and Russia, the ambassador dismissed speculation it could hurt relations between South Korea and Russia.
"Even without a complete convergence of views, we will continue to work to find areas in common and room for cooperation," he said. (Yonhap)