Days after it was discovered that China was violating international sanction agreements by continuing to sell North Korea oil, another country has been found doing the same thing: Russia.
Per Fox News:
In an apparent violation of a U.N. Security Council resolution, Russian ships have allegedly transferred oil products to North Korean vessels out at sea on several occasions, according to a published report.
Russian authorities have denied such allegations:
On Saturday, the Russian Foreign Ministry denied the report and vowed the country has “fully and strictly observed the sanctions regime.” The ministry noted that resolutions by the U.N. Security Council have imposed limits on North Korea’s refined oil imports but have not banned it all together.
Here’s more from Reuters:
Russian tankers have supplied fuel to North Korea on at least three occasions in recent months by transferring cargoes at sea, according to two senior Western European security sources, providing an economic lifeline to the secretive Communist state.
One security source, via the Reuters report, said, “The vessels are smuggling Russian fuel from Russian Far Eastern ports to North Korea.”
The two security sources cited naval intelligence and satellite imagery of the vessels operating out of Russian Far Eastern ports on the Pacific but declined to disclose further details to Reuters, saying it was classified.
The Russian Customs Service declined to comment when asked on Wednesday if Russian ships had supplied fuel to North Korean vessels. The owner of one ship accused of smuggling oil to North Korea denied any such activity.
NBC News adds:
North Korea relies on imported fuel to keep its struggling economy functioning. It also requires oil for its intercontinental ballistic missile and nuclear program that the United States says threatens the peace in Asia.
Reuters reports a specific instance of illegal activity is evidenced by the Russian oil tanker Vityaz.
They report the ship left the port of Slavtanka, Russia in the middle October, carrying 1,600 tonnes of oil.
Here’s what happened next:
Documents submitted by the vessel’s agent to the Russian State Port Control authority showed its destination as a fishing fleet in the Japan Sea. Shipping data showed the vessel switched off its transponder for a few days as it sailed into open waters.
According to the European security sources, the Vityaz conducted a ship-to-ship transfer with the North Korean Flagged Sam Ma 2 tanker in open seas during October.
The tanker’s deputy director denied claims that his ship transferred oil to North Korea:
Reuters could not independently verify the transfer as ship tracking data showed that the Sam Ma 2 had turned off its transponder from the start of August.
The owner of the Russian vessel denied any contact with North Korean vessels but also said it was unaware that the vessel was fuelling fishing boats.
Yaroslav Guk, deputy director of the tanker’s owner, Vladivostok-based Alisa Ltd, said the vessel had no contacts with North Korean vessels.
“Absolutely no, this is very dangerous,” Guk told Reuters by telephone. “It would be complete madness.”
President Donald Trump recently tweeted about China’s secretive selling of oil to North Korea.
He said, “Caught RED HANDED – very disappointed that China is allowing oil to go into North Korea. There will never be a friendly solution to the North Korea problem if this continues to happen!”
Caught RED HANDED – very disappointed that China is allowing oil to go into North Korea. There will never be a friendly solution to the North Korea problem if this continues to happen!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 28, 2017