The US imposed fresh sanctions on two Russian banks on Friday in response to suspected support for North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
The restrictions follow three fresh ballistic missile tests by North Korea on Tuesday, including one intercontinental ballistic missile, according to the US.
President Joe Biden returned from an Asian tour where he emphasized Washington’s commitment to safeguarding friends from the North’s nuclear threat.
North Korea has launched 23 missiles this year, according to the US, as the isolated country works to enhance and expand the range of its nuclear and missile programs.
Two Russian banks, Far Eastern and Sputnik, are among the sanctions targets, according to the US, because they do business with US-sanctioned North Korean organizations. According to the Treasury Department, Bank Sputnik also assisted North Korea in arranging payments for the usage of Russian satellite services.
The latest sanctions also target a North Korean individual residing in Belarus who the US claims was helping fund the missile launches, as well as a trade firm.
China and Russia blocked a United Nations resolution on Thursday. The US supported a Security Council resolution that would have imposed harsh new penalties on North Korea for its recent tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.
Thursday’s decision marked the first time the five permanent members of the United Nations’ most powerful council disagreed on a North Korea sanctions resolution.