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Russian leader Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Sept. 13, 2023. (Contributor/Getty Images)
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Russia on March 28 vetoed the annual renewal of the panel of experts monitoring U.N. sanctions against North Korea over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

The move sparked condemnations from several other U.N. members, who accused Russia of shielding its purchases of North Korean arms for its war effort against Ukraine.

"Today's vote will only embolden the DPRK (North Korea) to act with further impunity, as the DPRK jeopardizes global security through the development of long-range ballistic missiles and sanctions evasion efforts," said Robert Wood, the U.S. representative in the U.N., according to the Voice of America.

South Korean Ambassador Joonkook Hwang said, "Russia seems to be more interested in embracing or encouraging the DPRK for its provision of munitions and ballistic missiles for the conduct of its war in Ukraine at the expense of nuclear non-proliferation regime and the proper functioning of the Security Council."

Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called Russia's veto "a guilty plea."

"Moscow no longer hides its military cooperation with North Korea in obtaining arms and ammunition in violation of sanctions, as well as the use of North Korean weapons in the war against Ukraine.

"Today's vote is yet another example of how Russia's illegal presence in the U.N. Security Council jeopardizes global security."

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The U.N. Security Council adopted several sanctions against North Korea in 2006 to rein in its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, while the expert panel was created in 2009. Moscow's veto halts the work of the panel but does not cancel the sanctions themselves.

Vasily Nebenzya, Russia's envoy to the U.N., claimed that the sanctions did not achieve their goal of stabilizing the situation in the Korean peninsula and called for "an open and honest review of the council sanctions measures in respect of the DPRK, moving the restrictions onto an annual basis."

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.

Ukrainian prosecutors said that Russia attacked Ukraine with North Korean missiles around 50 times, targeting six different oblasts. The U.S. said they identified at least 10 such cases.

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