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Treasury sanctions 2 individuals, 3 companies with Russia-North Korea weapons ties

The U.S. Treasury Department on Thursday sanctioned two Russian individuals and three entities for transferring weapons between Moscow and North Korea. File Photo by Roger L. Wollenberg/UPI
The U.S. Treasury Department on Thursday sanctioned two Russian individuals and three entities for transferring weapons between Moscow and North Korea. File Photo by Roger L. Wollenberg/UPI | License Photo

May 16 (UPI) -- The U.S. Treasury said on Thursday it sanctioned two Russian nationals and three Russian-based entities for transferring illicit weapons between Moscow and North Korea.

The Treasury said that Russia and North Korea have intensified their military cooperation over the past year where Pyongyang provided military hardware, including missiles and munitions to Moscow in exchange for Russia offering North Korea military assistance.

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"Operating through networks located in Russia, these actors attempted to evade sanctions by using front companies to move military equipment to support Russia's illegal aggression against Ukraine," it said.

Among those sanctioned was Rafael Gazaryan, who the Treasury said worked with the previously sanctioned Ashot Mkrtychev on arms transactions involving North Korea and Russia, acting as a contact person for Mkrtychev.

Gazaryan is the owner of Russian-based Rafort Limited Liability Company, which was also sanctioned and used Trans Kapital Limited Liability to exchange weapons between the two countries.

The Treasury also sanctioned Aleksey Budnev, the sole owner of Tekhuologiva, who facilitated military communications equipment for Russia that likely originated from North Korea.

"Today's action reflects our commitment to disrupt [North Korea's] deepening military cooperation with Russia," said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson in a statement. "The United States will continue to take action to hold accountable those who seek to facilitate the shipment of weapons and other material to enable Russia's war."

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