US Sanctions 2 Russian Banks Accused of Supporting North Korea Missile Launches


The United States on Friday sanctioned two Russian banks, a North Korean trading company, and one individual for allegedly aiding North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, following Pyongyang’s 17th round of missile launches this year on May 25.

This comes after China and Russia vetoed the U.S. draft resolution on North Korea sanctions on Thursday. Russia called the resolution “a path to a dead-end,” while China said it may lead to “negative effects and escalation of confrontation.”

“We are taking these actions in response to [North Korea’s] ongoing development of its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs in violation of multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions,” Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said.

The U.S. Treasury Department said the latest sanctions targeted Russian financial institutions—Far Eastern Bank and Sputnik Bank—and North Korea’s Air Koryo Trading Corporation (AKTC).

AKTC was accused of providing support to Pyongyang’s Ministry of Rocket Industry, particularly in acquiring “various electrical components and dual-use goods, including transistors and hydraulic system components.”

Far Eastern Bank allegedly provided financial support to Air Koryo, the national airline of North Korea, while Bank Sputnik was suspected of assisting the North’s Foreign Trade Bank (FTB) and holding a Russian ruble account for FTB’s front firm, Korea Ungum Corporation.

Washington also sanctioned Jong Yong Nam, a Belarus-based representative of an organization subordinate to North Korea’s Second Academy of Natural Sciences, which Washington had previously designated in 2010.

All of their property and assets in the United States will be blocked as a result of the sanctions.

“The United States will continue to implement and enforce existing sanctions while urging [North Korea] to return to a diplomatic path and abandon its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles,” undersecretary of the Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence Brian Nelson said.

North Korea launched three ballistic missiles off its east coast just hours after President Joe Biden ended his trip to Asia on Wednesday. South Korea’s military said that Pyongyang fired a suspected intercontinental ballistic missile and two short-range ballistic missiles.

Washington announced new sanctions against entities and individuals located in Russia, North Korea, and China for “proliferation activities” on that same day.

It targeted Russian entities Ardis Group of Companies LLC, PFK Profpodshipnik LLC, and Russian individual Igor Aleksandrovich Michurin, as well as North Korea’s SANS Foreign Affairs Bureau and North Korean individual Ri Sung Chol for “transferring sensitive items to North Korea’s missile program.”

State Department spokesperson Ned Price said the sanctions intended “to impede [North Korea’s] ability to advance its missile program” while highlighting Russia’s role “as a proliferator to programs of concern.”

The United States also imposed sanctions against the Chinese entity Zhengzhou Nanbei Instrument Equipment Co. Ltd for “supplying Syria with equipment controlled by the Australia group chemical and biological weapons nonproliferation regime.”

“These determinations underscore the continuing need for all countries to remain vigilant to efforts by North Korea and Syria to advance their proliferation programs of concern,” Price said in a statement.

Post a Comment