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US designates 3 entities for brokering weapons deal between N. Korea, RussiaBy Yonhap
Published : Aug. 17, 2023 - 09:22
The US Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Controls on Wednesday imposed sanctions on three entities involved in illicit arms deals between North Korea and Russia, amid speculation that the countries may be seeking to bolster their illegal arms trade.
OFAC imposed sanctions on Verus LLC, Defense Engineering LLP and Versor SRO, all of which are owned or led by Slovakian national Ashot Mkrtychev.
Mkrtychev was designated on March 30 for "attempting to facilitate arms deals between Russia and the DPRK," according to OFAC.
DPRK stands for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, North Korea's official name.
"This action is part of the continuing US strategy to identify, expose, and disrupt third-country actors seeking to support Russia's brutal war against Ukraine," the department said in a press release.
" As Russia has continued to expend munitions and lose heavy equipment on the battlefield, it has been increasingly forced to turn to its few allies, including the DPRK, to sustain its unprovoked war in Ukraine," it added.
The move follows Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu's recent trip to Pyongyang as part of a delegation that marked the 70th anniversary of the Korean War armistice, celebrated in North Korea as Victory Day.
North Korea watchers have noted that Shoigu's Pyongyang trip may indicate increasing military cooperation between Moscow and Pyongyang.
"The United States continues to root out illicit financial networks that seek to channel support from North Korea to Russia's war machine," Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson was quoted as saying.
"Alongside our allies and partners, we remain committed to exposing and disrupting the arms trade underpinning Putin's brutal war in Ukraine," he added, according to the treasury department. (Yonhap)
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