Washington (CNN)US President Donald Trump may have found another whipping boy when it comes to reining in North Korea.
On Wednesday, Trump accused the Kremlin of helping North Korea skirt international sanctions aimed at curbing North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
“Russia is not helping us at all with North Korea,” Trump told Reuters in an interview. “What China is helping us with, Russia is denting. In other words, Russia is making up for some of what China is doing.”
Trump’s rare criticism of Russia came as he commended China for largely complying with international sanctions passed in 2017 that have targeted North Korean shipping, coal, seafood and labor.
His comments appear to reference reports that Russian tankers have helped refuel North Korea with shipments at sea, and follows allegations from US officials that Russia has been lax in its implementation of UN Security Council sanctions.
Russia didn’t make any immediate comment on the accusations.
Trump welcomed the ongoing dialogue between the two Koreas regarding next month’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Reuters reported, but said he didn’t think direct US talks with Kim Jong Un would solve anything.
On Wednesday, South Korea announced its athletes will march with their Northern counterparts at the Winter Olympics opening ceremony under a unified flag, a diplomatic breakthrough following days of talks between the two countries.