US to Impose New Sanctions on Russia, North Korea over Illegal Arms and Petroleum Transfers

The US and its partners will impose new sanctions in May 2024 on individuals and entities facilitating arms and petroleum transfers between Russia and North Korea. Russia shipped over 165,000 barrels of refined oil to North Korea in March, exceeding the UN's annual cap of 500,000 barrels.

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Waqas Arain
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US and Partners to Impose New Sanctions on Russia and North Korea over Illegal Arms and Petroleum Transfers

US and Partners to Impose New Sanctions on Russia and North Korea over Illegal Arms and Petroleum Transfers

The White House has announced that the United States and its partners, including South Korea, will impose new sanctions in May 2024 against individuals and entities involved in facilitating arms and petroleum transfers between Russia and North Korea. The decision comes after reports emerged that Russia shipped over 165,000 barrels of refined oil to North Korea in March, exceeding the United Nations Security Council's annual cap of 500,000 barrels.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a press briefing that the U.S. is currently working with its partners, including South Korea, Britain, Australia, the European Union, New Zealand and Japan, to announce new coordinated sanctions designations this month.

Why this matters: The escalation of arms and petroleum transfers between Russia and North Korea has significant implications forglobal security, as it undermines international sanctions and emboldens rogue nations. Furthermore, the failure to curb these transfers could lead to a proliferation of weapons and advanced technologies, destabilizing entire regions.

National Security Communications Advisor John Kirby stated, "In March alone, Russia shipped more than 165,000 barrels of refined petroleum (to the North)... Given the close proximity of Russian and North Korean commercial ports, Russia could sustain these shipments indefinitely." Kirby emphasized that Washington will continue efforts to disrupt trade in weapons and oil between the two nations, saying, "The United States" is going to continue to impose sanctions against all those working to facilitate arms and refined petroleum transfers between Russia and the DPRK."

The development comes after a UN panel of experts monitoring enforcement of long-standing UN sanctions against North Korea was disbanded following Russia's veto of its renewal. Kirby criticized Russia's actions, stating, "By disbanding the panel of experts, Russia is also attempting to obscure its violations of binding Security Council resolutions." The move has raised concerns about the effectiveness of international sanctions against North Korea.

The US has declassified intelligence showing that Russia has become increasingly reliant on North Korea, additionally Iran, for arms in its war in Ukraine. In return for its arms support to Russia, North Korea is believed to be seeking advanced technologies, including aircraft, surface-to-air missiles, armored vehicles, and ballistic missile production equipment.

The tension between Russia and the US and its Western allies has made it difficult to reach consensus on issues where there had been long-time agreement, such as UN monitoring of North Korea's nuclear program. The expiration of the mandate of the UN expert panel monitoring sanctions compliance has further complicated the situation.

The US and its partners are preparing to announce new sanctions against North Korea and Russia, and the international community will be closely watching the impact on the arms and petroleum trade between the two nations. The effectiveness of these measures in deterring further violations of UN Security Council resolutions remains to be seen, according toState Department officials.

Key Takeaways

  • US and partners to impose new sanctions on individuals and entities facilitating Russia-North Korea arms and petroleum transfers.
  • Russia shipped 165,000 barrels of refined oil to North Korea in March, exceeding UN annual cap.
  • Escalation of arms and petroleum transfers undermines global security and emboldens rogue nations.
  • Russia's veto of UN panel of experts raises concerns about effectiveness of international sanctions against North Korea.
  • US and partners to announce new sanctions against North Korea and Russia to deter further violations of UN resolutions.