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US imposes new sanctions after North Korea tests intercontinental ballistic missiles

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The United States imposed new sanctions Thursday on entities and individuals in Russia and North Korea after Pyongyang’s latest intercontinental ballistic missile test.

The targeted individuals and organizations are accused of “transferring sensitive items to North Korea’s missile program,” according to a State Department statement.

“These measures are part of our ongoing efforts to impede the DPRK’s ability to advance its missile program and highlight the negative role Russia plays on the world stage as a proliferator of programs of interest,” the statement said, using the acronym North Korean official.

The new sanctions were quickly ridiculed by Moscow’s ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Antonov, who said “serial sanctions will not achieve their goals.”

Thursday’s launch was the first time Pyongyang had fired the country’s most powerful missiles at full speed since 2017, and it appears to have traveled higher and farther than any previous ICBMs tested by the nuclear-armed nation.

Kim Jong Un personally oversaw the test launch of a “new type” of intercontinental ballistic missiles to boost his country’s nuclear deterrence against American “imperialists,” North Korean state media reported early Friday.

In response, the State Department said Washington had sanctioned Russian entities called the Ardis Group, PFK Profpodshipnik, and Russian national Igor Aleksandrovich Michurin.

It also sanctioned North Korean citizen Ri Sung Chol and a North Korean entity called the Foreign Affairs Office of the Second Academy of Natural Sciences.

The statement did not detail the specific accusations against these individuals and entities.

Washington and Seoul: Launch violates UN resolutions

Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke Thursday night with South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong to reaffirm Washington’s alliance with Seoul.

The two top diplomats reiterated that the launch violated multiple UN Security Council resolutions and “demonstrates the threat that the DPRK’s illegal weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs pose to the DPRK’s neighbors and the international community in general,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a readout of the call.

For its part, the Russian embassy accused the United States of seeking to punish officials in Moscow because they have an opinion that “does not correspond to that of Washington.”

“It is obvious that the next ‘package’ of sanctions against Russia is aimed at destroying the economy and undermining the internal political situation of our country,” Antonov posted on the embassy’s Facebook page.

Last week, the US Treasury announced sanctions against two Russian individuals and three entities for their support of North Korea’s weapons program.

(AFP)


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