U.S. Treasury sanctions North Korea-Russia weapons trades

August 16, 2023

The U.S. Treasury Department on Wednesday announced sanctions against three businesses linked to a scheme to transfer weapons from North Korea to Russia. 

The latest sanctions come as Russia’s war against neighboring Ukraine is nearly 18 months old.

The sanctions target three businesses linked to Ashot Mkrtychev, a Slovakian national. The U.S. previously sanctioned Mkrtychev himself in March for attempting to broker arms deals between Russia and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). 

According to the Treasury Department, Mkrtychev worked with North Korean officials in an attempt to obtain more than two dozen different kinds of weapons and munitions for Russia in exchange for a variety of assets for North Korea, including commercial aircraft, raw materials and commodities. 

“This action is part of the continuing U.S. strategy to identify, expose, and disrupt third-country actors seeking to support Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine,” Treasury said in a statement. “As Russia has continued to expend munitions and lose heavy equipment on the battlefield, it has been increasingly forced to turn to its few allies, including the DPRK, to sustain its unprovoked war in Ukraine.”

Treasury targeted three Mkrtychev-linked businesses called Limited Liability Company Verus, Defense Engineering Limited Liability Partnership (Defense Engineering), and Versor S.R.O. (Versor).

The sanctions are aimed at blocking any property or interests that the companies have in the U.S. as well as any American individuals from doing business with the companies. 

“To date, Treasury has sanctioned hundreds of individuals and entities involved in circumventing the international sanctions regime on Russia,” said the Treasury Department. 

PHOTO: North Korea Russia China border tripoint

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