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Moscow says won’t veto UN resolution on North Korea sanctions

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This undated picture released from North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 22, 2017 shows North Korean ground-to-ground medium-to-long range strategic ballistic missile Pukguksong-2 being launched in a test-fire. North Korea on May 22 declared its medium-range Pukguksong-2 missile ready for deployment after a weekend test, the latest step in its quest to defy UN sanctions and develop a weapon capable of striking US targets.STR / KCNA VIA KNS / AFP

Moscow on Friday said it will not veto a UN resolution imposing sanctions on North Korea, despite Kremlin ire over fresh US punitive measures that hit Russian firms.

The United States has presented a draft UN Security Council resolution Thursday that would hit North Korea over with new sanctions over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, diplomats said.

The text — drafted in agreement with China, traditionally Pyongyang’s sole diplomatic and military ally — was expected to be submitted to a Council vote on Friday.

Deputy foreign minister Gennady Gatilov said Moscow is “not gearing up to veto it” after Russia’s concerns were taken on board.

“The vote is set for today and we expect it to pass,” Gatilov was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.

Russia’s decision comes despite anger in the Kremlin after the US Treasury included Russian firms and a company director in fresh sanctions over North Korea.

The US announced the punitive unilateral measures Thursday on several North Korean entities and officials as well as two Russian companies trading with Pyongyang in a bid to pressure the isolated regime over its nuclear weapons push.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Pesko quoted by RIA Novosti news agency said the measures “are a factor that continues to have a negative effect on our bilateral relations” with the US.

He said the sanctions “continue, unfortunately, the previous line. This provokes nothing but regret.”

Another deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov criticised the move as “showing a lack of ability to look at things more broadly and a knee-jerk return to a discredited approach” in comments to TASS state news agency.

“I got a sense of bad deja-vu,” he added.

Thursday’s announcement listed Moscow-based Ardis-Bearings LLC and its director, Igor Aleksandrovich Michurin, for business they do with North Korean firm Korea Tangun Trading Corporation.

Tangun was already placed under sanctions in 2009 for its involvement in North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction and missile programs, the Treasury said.

Another Russian firm, the Independent Petroleum Company, has a contract to sell oil to North Korea and “may have” worked to help the country circumvent sanctions, it said.



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