Moscow on Thursday reacted to new U.S. sanctions against a Russian company and individual, with the country’s foreign ministry issuing a statement calling them “destructive”.
The Russian Foreign Ministry responded to the new designations which targeted a shipping and port logistics company working in the country’s Far East and its director, for continuing to provide services to sanctioned North Korean oil tankers.
“The destructive U.S.’ tactics, pursued beyond the framework of the U.N. Security Council and its 1718 Sanctions Committee, is only able to undermine the progress, which has been made recently towards the settlement,” the foreign ministry said.
Moscow added Washington had not provided evidence for the designations and called the designations an “anti-Russian action” which were “fraught with danger.”
The statement was echoed by Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov during an interview with Interfax news agency on the same day.
“Regarding (the newly designated) Profinet and Kolchanov, the restrictions were applied as the U.S. tends to do now, without presenting any evidence and on the basis of empty and groundless accusations,” Ryabkov said.
According to its website, Profinet was established in 2002 and provides port services to vessels at the Russian ports of Nakhodka, Vostochny, Vladivostok, and Slavyanka.
But the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) added the company and its director Vasili Aleksandrovich Kolchanov to it’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN) list for working with North Korea.
“Profinet has provided port services on at least six separate occasions to DPRK-flagged vessels, including the sanctioned vessels Chon Myong 1 and Rye Song Gang 1, which have carried thousands of metric tons of refined oil products,” Treasury said in a press release issued on Wednesday.
“Profinet continued to offer its bunkering services to DPRK-flagged vessels even after its employees knew of oil-related sanctions on North Korea,” it added.
OFAC also said Kolchanov was personally involved in arranging deals with North Korea and “interacted directly” with DPRK representatives in Russia.
The Department of Treasury’s press release did not say when the company had worked with the now-sanctioned oil tankers and whether they had transacted after the ships were added to the UN’s blacklist.
Most of the vessels designated by the UN are subject to port bans and asset freezes, indicating that any fuel transfers or services would have to be conducted outside of Russian ports to avoid breaching the UN’s measures.
The NK Pro ship tracker shows that most of North Korea’s oil tankers stopped broadcasting their locations around mid-2017, following earlier Treasury designations against a Moscow-based oil company, making their exact locations difficult to track.
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Featured Image: Moscow Kremlin by Pavel "KoraxDC" Kazachkov on 2011-05-14 22:42:06