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Russia's Veto Disrupts UN Efforts to Monitor North Korea Sanctions

Russia vetoed on Thursday a UN Security Council proposal to extend the mandate of a UN panel that monitors the implementation of the sanctions against North Korea, as Moscow and the West continue to grow apart in international affairs. 

The proposal of the UN Security Council doesn’t change the existing sanctions against North Korea in response to its nuclear weapons program and tests, but it doesn’t extend the monitoring of these sanctions beyond the end of April, when the current mandate expires, either.

In the 15-member council, Russia voted against the extension of the mandate of the monitoring panel, China abstained, while all others voted in favor. 

The West accused Russia of looking to avoid monitoring as it is engaged in arms deals with North Korea, which supplies weapons for the Russian war in Ukraine.

“Today’s vote was nothing more than the attempt by one Council member to silence the independent, objective investigations into DPRK Security Council violations. There is simply no other honest way to view this,” said Ambassador Robert Wood, Alternative Representative for Special Political Affairs for the U.S. at the UN.  

“The Panel began reporting in the last year on Russia’s blatant violations of the UN Security Council resolutions, in addition to the DPRK’s persistent sanctions evasion efforts within Russia’s jurisdiction,” Wood added. 

“But let me be clear: Russia, you silenced the Panel of Experts today, but you will never silence those of us who stand in support of the global nonproliferation regime.” 

Russia is said to have supplied oil directly to North Korea this year as both regimes are openly defying UN sanctions on sales of petroleum to Pyongyang. 

Satellite images, which UK think-tank Royal United Services Institute has shared with the Financial Times, have shown that in March alone, at least five tankers of North Korea have traveled to load petroleum products from the Vostochny Port, the biggest port in Russia’s Far East.

With a suspected oil-for-weapons deal with North Korea, Russia appears to have boosted its oil deliveries to Kim Jong-Un in exchange for munitions and other military equipment from North Korea to use in its war in Ukraine.   

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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