(RIA Novosti) - Russia condemns North Korea's nuclear test, President Vladimir Putin said Monday.
Ignoring repeated warnings from the international community to desist, North Korea is reported to have conducted an underground nuclear test early Monday, the South Korean news agency Yonhap said, citing the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed later in the day that North Korea had conducted an underground nuclear test, reports Trend.
"Russia absolutely condemns the test in North Korea, which has inflicted great damage to the non-proliferation process," Putin said.
"I expect [North] Korea to return to [six-nation] talks and order the Foreign Ministry to hold relevant consultations in the UN Security Council," he said.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said the power of the nuclear device tested by North Korea is equivalent to 5,000-15,000 tons of TNT.
"We know the exact site of the tests," Ivanov said, adding that the environmental situation was normal, including in the Primorye Territory bordering on North Korea. "But we will continue monitoring," he added.
The Russian Foreign Ministry summoned the North Korean ambassador and said that the country's nuclear test undermined international non-proliferation agreements, setting a precedent for a nuclear arms race in northeast Asia.
"This step, made in defiance of all calls from the international community, threatens further escalation of tensions on the Korean peninsula, undermines the nuclear non-proliferation regime, and sets a precedent for a nuclear arms race in northeast Asia," the ministry said in a statement following a meeting between Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Alexeyev, head of the Russian delegation at the six-nation talks on the North Korean nuclear problem, and the North Korean ambassador to Russia.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin said earlier: "We demand that North Korea immediately takes steps to return to the nuclear non-proliferation regime and to resume the six-nation talks. We will take the same position when we address the UN Security Council."
"We are conducting a scrupulous analysis of the situation and are holding close consultations with all interested parties," Kamynin said.
He said Pyongyang ignored the unanimous will of the international community by staging the test.
"Russia has repeatedly said that no matter what the motivation, such a step would only aggravate problems on the Korean peninsula. It is a threat to the world as well as to the security and stability of the region, and it may damage the non-proliferation regime," Kamynin said.