The US Department of the Treasury on Friday announced sanctions on Russian individuals and entities for supporting the development of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles in North Korea.
The sanctions, imposed on two individuals and three entities, target “a network of Russia-based individuals and entities complicit in helping [North Korea] procure components for its unlawful ballistic missile systems,” MarketWatch quoted Undersecretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson as saying.
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The announcement of the sanctions come a day after the Biden administration on Thursday announced that it would take steps to prevent North Korea from accessing foreign technology and equipment that would aid it in the development of advanced missiles and weapon systems.
North Korea had suspended testing long-range intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) in 2017 ahead of a summit with former President Donald Trump, but has threatened to resume “all temporally-suspended activities” of late.
Indeed, since the beginning of 2022, Pyongyang has conducted several missile tests, with seven separate launches taking place in January itself, the most in any calendar year on record. The January 30 launch was assessed to be an ICBM capable striking targets as far away as the island of Guam.
Subsequently, North Korea on February 27 conducted another missile test, which it followed up with yet another on March 4.
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While Pyongyang said that both were carried out for the development of a reconnaissance satellite system, the US and South Korean militaries believe that North Korea was testing parts for an ICBM capable of striking anywhere in the US.
Although North Korea is not prohibited from testing short-range and cruise missiles, international law prohibits Pyongyang from developing or testing nuclear and long-range ballistic missiles.