The Russian Foreign Ministry on Saturday denied claims that U.N. sanctions against North Korea had been breached by Russian tankers transferring fuel to North Korean tankers at sea.
The statement came in response to a Reuters report citing unidentified Western European security sources who said the transfers took place in October and November and represented a breach of sanctions.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried by Russian news agencies that Russia has "fully and strictly observed the sanctions regime."
The statement did not address whether or not Russian ships had transferred the fuel. It did say resolutions by the United Nations Security Council have imposed limits on North Korea's refined oil imports but haven't banned them altogether.
The council has unanimously approved several rounds of sanctions against North Korea over its missile tests and nuclear program, including a tough new U.N. resolution earlier this month.
The resolution adopted by the council included sharply lower limits on North Korea's refined oil imports, the return home of all North Koreans working overseas within 24 months, and a crackdown on ships smuggling banned items including coal and oil to and from the country. It didn't include even harsher measures sought by Washington that would ban all oil imports and freeze international assets of the government and its leader, Kim Jong Un.