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UK announces new sanctions targeting Russia's 'arms for oil' trade with North Korea

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk May 17, 2024 7:25 PM 2 min read
The Russian oil tanker Crius waits for a cargo of oil in Ceuta, Spain, on March 5, 2023. Photo for illustrative purposes. (Antonio Sempere/Europa Press via Getty Images)
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The U.K. announced new sanctions on May 17 targeting Russia's "arms for oil" trade with North Korea.

The new sanctions came after the Financial Times wrote in March that Moscow was defying U.N. sanctions by supplying North Korea with oil, likely in exchange for weapons. Pyongyang is subject to a strict cap on oil transfers imposed by the U.N. Security Council in 2017 after a series of nuclear weapons tests.

U.S. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said in May that Moscow supplied over 165,000 barrels of refined petroleum to North Korea in March alone.

The new sanctions will target three companies and one individual from North Korea and Russia and follow similar measures implemented by the U.S. the day before.

"We cannot–and we will not–stay silent as (North Korea) and Russia engage in arms transfers," said Foreign Secretary David Cameron.

"The U.K. will continue to hold (North Korea) and Russia to account. We will work with our partners to protect the global non-proliferation regime and international peace and security."

Pyongyang 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.

There have also been concerns about what Russia may be providing North Korea in return for the shipments of military hardware and ammunition. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has warned that Russia has been assisting North Korea in upgrading its military capabilities, potentially including ballistic missiles and nuclear technology.

US, South Korea launch task force to combat illegal shipment of oil to North Korea
The two countries also said they were increasingly concerned that Russia has been providing refined oil to North Korea.
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