US sanctions on Russian firm undermines peace process with North Korea: Moscow

Russian Foreign Ministry headquarters in Moscow

Russian Foreign Ministry headquarters in Moscow

Kolchanov insisted he had worked with the ships as a transport agent, but was not involved in trading any goods.

The sanctions block any assets the three companies may have in USA jurisdictions and bar US citizens from doing business with them.

When asked for comment on the U.S. Treasury statement, Liang Ye, legal representative of Dalian Sun Moon Star International Logistics Trading, said that the matter was still unclear and that the Chinese company hadn't received any notice.

According to the OFAC, the Chinese company used falsified shipping documents to ship alcohol, tobacco and cigarette-related items into North Korea and the Russian company provided port services such as fuel supply to North Korean vessels on at least six occasions.

OFAC also said Kolchanov was personally involved in arranging deals with North Korea and "interacted directly" with DPRK representatives in Russian Federation.

By going after the two countries, the United States is gradually edging close to imposing economic blockades on the North. and it wouldn't come as a surprise if the US petitions them to allow inspection of suspicious vessels.

The sanctions were tightened for the last time on December 22, 2017.

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Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that fresh sanctions, imposed by the United States against a Russian firm and an individual over North Korea, may undermine peace process in the Korean peninsula.

It has been angered in the past by unilateral U.S. sanctions on Chinese firms and individuals.

North Korea has called on the United States - one of the signatories to the armistice signed in 1953 - to declare an end to the war as the first step to ensuring regime security, arguing it has already made some concessions. As you might imagine, neither country is too pleased with the current state of affairs.

Moscow was working on retaliatory measures, added Ryabkov, saying the Russian leadership would decide whether to hit back. So far, the evidence is mixed.

The U.S. Treasury Department explained in a statement that these companies engaged in illicit trade with Pyongyang, . adding it will freeze their assets within the U.S. and ban them from doing business with Americans.

DPRK is an acronym for North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

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