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ISW: Putin fears North Korea deal will threaten sanctions evasion schemes

by Abbey Fenbert and The Kyiv Independent news desk September 14, 2023 6:37 AM 1 min read
Russian dictator Vladimir Putin (R) and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (L) shaking hands during their meeting at the Vostochny Cosmodrome on Sept. 13, 2023. (Photo by Vladimir Smirnov/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)
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Russian dictator Vladimir Putin is likely worried that an arms deal with North Korea may expose Russia to new economic penalties and endanger current efforts to evade sanctions, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) wrote in its Sept. 13 report.

North North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met with Putin at the Vostochny Cosmodrome on Sept. 13 to begin offical negotiations.

Kim claimed that "the Russian army and people will achieve a great victory in the sacred battle against the great evil."

Meanwhile, Putin told Russian media the talks were "highly productive."

According to the ISW, Putin's neutral tone indicates his need "to balance Russia’s interest in acquiring North Korean artillery munitions with concerns about the risk of triggering secondary international sanctions."

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The Russian military's ongoing artillery crisis has led Moscow to deepen ties with North Korea in hopes of securing additional weaponry.

However, trade with North Korea exposes Russia to additional international condemnation, at a time when Moscow's sanctions evasion tactics are receiving more attention.

U.S. officials have warned that an arms deal with Kim would violate UN resolutions aimed at restricting North Korea's nuclear program. The U.S. has also said it would impose new sanctions on North Korea if it sells weapons to Russia.

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