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Russian Federation accused of altering independent sanctions report

Treasury targets North Korean-run IT companies with financial sanctions | TheHill US Imposes Sanctions on N. Korean IT Firms
Deanna Wagner | 16 September, 2018, 00:29

In the latest wave of punitive measures on Thursday, . the United States sanctioned two companies in China and Russian Federation for their alleged role in facilitating the North's nuclear weapons program and for allegedly helping the North send workers overseas.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on September 13 said Russian Federation pressured the independent sanctions monitors to amend a report that was eventually submitted to the Security Council's North Korea sanctions committee last month. South Korea, a close US ally, said in February that it would procure new patrol aircraft to cope with the emerging threat of North Korean submarine-launched missiles.

The U.S. said that the companies targeted are also linked to the organizations involved in North's weapons program.

Haley and other diplomats claim that Russian Federation pressured the independent monitors to amend the report.

The report said Pyongyang had not stopped its nuclear and missile programs and that it was violating United Nations sanctions on exports.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, one diplomat said the amended report removed some references to Russians accused of breaching North Korea sanctions.

The designations are the latest effort by the Donald Trump administration to ramp up pressure on Pyongyang to fully and completely denuclearize.

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Also being sanctioned is the firm's CEO, Jong Song-hwa, and its Russia-based front company, Volasys Silver Star.

Russian Federation argued the report filed to take into consideration Moscow's own analysis of the sanctions and that it had relied too heavily on intelligence from the US.

The UN Security Council will meet on Monday over the implementation of sanctions on North Korea at the request of Washington, the U.S. mission to the United Nations said. "Period", Haley said in a statement.

Russia's United Nations mission and the head of the sanctions monitor panel did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin said: "These actions are meant to stop the flow of illicit revenue to North Korea from overseas information technology workers disguising their true identities and hiding behind front companies, aliases, and third-party nationals".

The US has been using sanctions to maintain pressure on Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile program, even as it continues to engage in diplomacy.