By Kanishka Singh
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. State Department on Thursday imposed sanctions on three Russian entities and one individual involved in the transfer and testing of North Korea’s ballistic missiles for Russia’s use against Ukraine, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.
WHY IT IS IMPORTANT
The step comes two days after a joint statement by the United States and its partners condemned arms transfers between North Korea and Russia, including what it termed as Russia’s procurement of North Korean ballistic missiles and Moscow’s use of those against Ukraine on Dec. 30 and Jan. 2.
Both Moscow and Pyongyang have drawn closer since the beginning of the Ukraine conflict, though they deny making any arms deals.
“We will not hesitate to take further actions,” Blinken said in a statement.
North Korea’s “transfer of ballistic missiles to Russia supports Russia’s war of aggression, increases the suffering of the Ukrainian people, and undermines the global nonproliferation regime,” Blinken added.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met President Vladimir Putin in Russia’s Far East region last September and senior Russian officials have made several visits to Pyongyang.
Last week the White House said Russia had used short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) sourced from North Korea to conduct multiple strikes against Ukraine, citing newly declassified intelligence. A senior Ukrainian official later corroborated the assertion.
Russia attacked Kharkiv with several missiles last week, killing two people and injuring over 60 in one of its biggest missile and drone strikes since the start of the large-scale war in February 2022.
North Korea has been under a United Nations arms embargo since it first tested a nuclear bomb in 2006. U.N. Security Council resolutions, approved with Russian support, ban countries from trading weapons or other military equipment with North Korea.
(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington; Editing by Leslie Adler and Chris Reese)