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The US has imposed sanctions on Russia and North Korea as they try to broker an arms deal

WASHINGTON – The Biden administration has sanctioned a Slovakian man who US officials said tried to facilitate an arms deal that would have given Russia access to arms and ammunition from North Korea in exchange for aircraft, food and other material.

The Treasury Department announced new sanctions targeting Asht Mkrychev, a man accused of trying to arrange secret deals. Officials said the episode was the latest signal that Russia is looking for ways to replenish its military capabilities as it continues to suffer losses amid heavy fighting in Ukraine.

“We know that from the end of 2022 to the beginning of 2023, that (Mkrtychev) worked with North Korean officials, as I said, more than two dozen types of weapons and ammunition for Russia” in exchange for aircraft, raw materials and so on. products, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters on a call. He said any such measures would violate several UN Security Council resolutions.

Martichev, using North Korea’s official diplomatic name, “confirmed with senior Russian officials Russia’s readiness to receive military equipment from the DPRK,” the Treasury Department said. The department said Marktichev worked with a Russian official to find commercial aircraft that could be delivered to North Korea. Thursday’s ban means all of Mkrtychev’s assets and interests in the United States or held by US persons are blocked.

“Russia has lost more than 9,000 pieces of heavy military equipment since the start of the war, and thanks to multilateral sanctions and export controls, Putin has become increasingly desperate to replace them,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement. “Schemes such as the arms deal pursued by this individual show that Putin is leaning towards suppliers of last resort, such as Iran and the DPRK. We remain committed to reducing Russia’s military-industrial capabilities as well as uncovering and countering Russia’s efforts to evade and obtain sanctions. The DPRK or any other state’s military Equipment that is ready to support the war in Ukraine.”

Mkrtychev joins a growing list of individuals and entities sanctioned by the United States since Russia invaded Ukraine more than a year ago. The United States and its allies A new ban has been announced More than 200 individuals and entities were targeted last month, including both Russian and third-country actors.

US officials have previously issued public warnings that Russia is looking to replenish its military stockpile through deals with other countries as it struggles to replace weapons, shells and ammunition. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said last month that China Consideration is being given to providing “fatal assistance”. To President Xi Jinping of Russia and China visit Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow last week.

Xi made no formal commitment to supply arms to Russia and China, which consider themselves “neutral” observers of the conflict, but the two leaders issued a statement saying it was necessary to “respect the legitimate security concerns of all countries”. West.

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