MOSCOW, June 24 (Reuters) - Russia's largest producer of liquefied natural gas, Novatek, dispatched its first LNG cargo this navigation season via the Northern Sea Route to Asia, Kommersant reported on Monday, citing data from Kpler and Gecon consultancy.

The newspaper said the Arc7 ice class gas carrier Eduard Toll, accompanied by the nuclear-powered Sibir icebreaker, departed with an LNG cargo on June 21 from the Yamal LNG plant to China.

The Northern Sea Route runs from Murmansk near Russia's border with Norway eastwards to the Bering Strait near Alaska.

Although the route is physically challenging, it could cut sea transport times between Europe and Asia at a time when Russia's trade with Western countries is at post-Cold War lows following Moscow's decision to send troops into Ukraine.

The NSR, although significantly shorter than the Suez Canal, requires the assistance of icebreakers to help vessels to pass along the northern coast of Russia. (Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin, Editing by Louise Heavens)