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US Imposes Sanctions on Russians Who Facilitated Weapons Trade Between Moscow and North Korea

United States Department of the Treasury on May 16 announced sanctions against two Russian individuals and three legal entities that facilitated the supply of weapons between Russia and North Korea (DPRK).

This action promotes the United States' stance against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Russia by enhancing existing sanctions initiated by the Department of the Treasury and the Department of State.

These sanctions target arms transactions, particularly concerning the transfer and experimentation of North Korean-manufactured ballistic missiles for potential utilization by Russia against Ukraine.

“Today’s action reflects our commitment to disrupt the DPRK’s deepening military cooperation with Russia,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson. “The United States will continue to take action to hold accountable those who seek to facilitate the shipment of weapons and other materiel to enable Russia’s war.”

In March 2023, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) enforced sanctions on a Slovakian individual named Ashot Mkrtychev and related entities for their involvement in facilitating arms transfers between Russia and DPRK.

The United States has recently imposed sanctions on another affiliated individual, Rafael Anatolyevich Gazaryan of Russian national, for his collaboration with Mkrtychev in facilitating arms transactions between Moscow and Pyongyang.

Another Russian, Aleksey Budnev, according to the US Treasury Department, facilitated the supply to Russia of military communications equipment which “likely originated from the DPRK intended to support the Russian military.”

Gazaryan additionally used two Russian-based companies, Trans Kapital Limited Liability Company, and Rafort Limited Liability Company, to facilitate the transfer of weapons and munitions between the two nations. It has been reported that Gazaryan is the director of Rafort Limited.

The Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine reported earlier this month that about half of the North Korean missiles that Russia launched at Ukraine deviated from the programmed trajectory and did not reach its target.

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