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US imposes sanctions on Russian entities, individuals over arms transfers linked to North Korea

The United States has imposed sanctions on five Russian individuals and entities for facilitating trade in ballistic missiles and other weapons transfers between North Korea and Russia for use against Ukraine.

The US Treasury Department announced the sanctions on Thursday.

Brian Nelson, the U.S. Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, said in a statement, “The United States will continue to take action to hold accountable those who facilitate the shipment of weapons and other materials to enable Russia’s war.” Want convenience.”

This comes at a time when the United States and its allies are concerned about Russia’s deepening ties with North Korea as well as China, according to a statement issued by the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

Russia and North Korea have stepped up their military cooperation over the past year, the department said, with Pyongyang providing Russian forces with ballistic missiles and ammunition to attack Ukraine. It also said that North Korea is asking for military assistance from Russia in return.

The department identified the individuals as Rafael Anatolyevich Ghazaryan and Alexey Budnev, and identified the three entities as Trans Capital Limited Liability Company, Raffort Limited Liability Company and Technologia.

US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement that sanctions were imposed on five Russia-based individuals and entities because they violated the UN arms embargo on North Korea.

The sanctions build on a series of sanctions last year targeting Russia-North Korea military ties and highlight US opposition to continued arms transfers and deepening defense cooperation between Moscow and Pyongyang, he said.

The US also claimed that Russia trusted North Korea to wage war on Ukraine and said that relations between the two countries pose a broader threat to global security and the international non-proliferation regime.

The United States said it would continue to take all necessary steps to counter the “destabilizing” Russia-North Korea partnership, while calling on other countries to join Washington’s efforts.

The development came amid Russian President Vladimir Putin’s state visit to Beijing to celebrate the 75th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties, where the two leaders, meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, agreed to strengthen their countries’ “comprehensive strategic partnership” at their meeting in Beijing. Agreed to do. The 75th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations is being celebrated.

Meanwhile, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said in an interview with state media TASS that Moscow could reduce the level of diplomatic relations with Washington if certain scenarios play out and “if the West chooses the path of escalating tensions.” Is.”

After Putin’s meeting with Xi, the two leaders issued a joint statement pledging to deepen the comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation between the two countries. China and Russia had announced a “no borders” partnership in February 2022, before the conflict between Russia and Ukraine broke out.

In an interview with China’s state news agency Xinhua on Wednesday, Putin said the “unprecedented level of strategic partnership” between Russia and China was the reason for making China the first stop of his fifth term.

At a press conference on Thursday, US State Department Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel said China cannot build strong relations with Europe and other countries while supporting Russia in its ongoing war against Ukraine.

“The People’s Republic of China can’t have its cake and eat it too. You can not have it both ways. You want to have good, stronger, deeper relationships with Europe and other countries. “At the same time, it continues to foster the greatest threat to European security in a long time.”

“Fueling Russia’s defense base as the PRC not only threatens Ukrainian security, it also threatens European security. And unless Beijing achieves better relations with Europe, it will also continue such support,” he said.

Putin also praised China’s 12-point peace plan to resolve Russia’s ongoing military conflict with Ukraine, saying it understands the ‘root causes’ of the conflict and its ‘global geopolitical significance’.

Asked about the statement during a press briefing, White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said, “Look, we don’t see anything new here.”

“If China claims to support peace in Europe, it cannot continue to promote the greatest threat to European security. And it’s not just coming from us. “It’s coming from NATO, the European Union, G7 partners – they’ve even made statements about this,” a White House spokesperson said.

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