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Reuters: Satellite imagery shows ship likely used to transfer North Korean arms to Russia docked in Chinese port

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk April 25, 2024 12:23 PM 2 min read
Various types of ships are undergoing repairs at a shipyard in Zhoushan, China, on March 9, 2024. Photo for illustrative purposes. (Costfoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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A North Korean-registered cargo ship implicated in the illicit transfer of arms to Russia has been docked at a Chinese port for months, Reuters reported on April 25, citing satellite imagery.

North Korea has been shaping up as Russia's leading weapons supplier, reportedly providing Moscow with extensive military packages, including ballistic missiles and over 3 million artillery shells.

Satellite imagery has previously suggested that North Korean military assistance has been flowing to Russia across their shared border in the far east.

At the same time, the U.K.'s Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) think tank said the cargo ship the Angara, currently docked at a shipyard in China's eastern Zhejiang province, has been involved in carrying North Korean military cargo to Russia overseas.

A spokesperson for the U.S. State Department said it knew of "credible, open-source reports" that the Angara is docked in China, in what would be a violation of a U.N. resolution regulating trade with North Korea.

The Angara, which was sanctioned by the U.S. in 2022, has made at least 11 trips back and forth between North Korea and Russia, RUSI said.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry told Reuters it had no information about the ship, and neither the Russian Foreign Ministry nor the shipyard that the Angara is docked at responded to Reuters' requests for comment.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in China on an official visit on April 24, during which it was reported that he would deliver an in-person warning to China over its support for Russia's full-scale war against Ukraine.

Expanded trade with China has played a key role in allowing Moscow to keep its economy running and ramp up its military industry despite Western economic pressure.

The U.S. has repeatedly warned China against providing Russia with lethal military aid and urged Beijing to use its influence over Moscow to help end the war.

China has insisted that its alliance with Russia is normal and that it has not supported either Ukraine or Russia with weapons throughout the full-scale war.

Reuters: Next round of EU sanctions on Russia to target shadow fleet, ships transporting North Korean equipment
EU Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis said earlier in April that the bloc is preparing its 14th round of sanctions against Russia, which should be adopted in spring.
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