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UN: Russia vetoes extension of North Korea sanctions monitor

Before the vote, Russia told the UN Security Council that Western countries are attempting to “strangle” North Korea. Pyongyang has been under sanctions over its nuclear program since 2006.

Russia on Thursday vetoed the extension of a UN panel tasked with overseeing sanctions against North Korea, amid allegation of its arms exchanges with Pyongyang to sustain the war in Ukraine.

Before the vote, Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told the Council that Western countries are attempting to “strangle” North Korea, arguing that sanctions are becoming irrelevant and ineffective in curbing the country’s nuclear weapons proliferation.

North Korea has been under Security Council sanctions over its nuclear program since 2006.

The UN monitoring panel had been a key instrument in monitoring sanctions compliance and identifying violations. Without the extension its mandate is set to conclude at the end of April.

Earlier this month, in its most recent report, the panel said it was investigating Pyongyang raking in billions of dollars through suspected cyberattacks to further its nuclear weapons program.

Russian move faces criticism

Russia’s veto was criticized by various nations with Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba calling the veto “a guilty plea,” while South Korea said in a statement that Moscow has “made an irresponsible decision.”

The United States accused Russia of attempting to “bury the panel’s reporting on its own collusion” with North Korea. US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said Russia’s actions “cynically undermined international peace and security” in order to facilitate its “corrupt bargain” with Pyongyang.

While Moscow and Pyongyang have denied claims of weapons exchanges, the pair did vow last year to enhance their military cooperation.

A flurry of recent missile launches have led to speculation that North Korea is testing these weapons prior to sending them to Russia for deployment in Ukraine.

After his meeting in September with Russian President Vladimir Putin, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said the two leaders are teaming up in a “fight against imperialism.”

Sanctions against North Korea intact

Russia’s veto does not impact any sanction on North Korea and those remain intact.

However, the veto marks a significant setback in efforts to monitor North Korea’s nuclear program and underscores the deepening divisions within the Security Council.

Meanwhile, although China, along with Russia, had been calling for an easing of the sanctions, Beijing abstained from the vote. All other 13 members in the 15-member Council voted in favor of the motion.

Source: Dw

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