U.S blames Russia for ‘pressuring’ to alter sanctions report against North Korea

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The United States blamed Russia for placing pressure on an independent UN panel of experts to alter a sanctions report against North Korea that involved alleged sanctions violations “implicating Russian actors”, AP reported.

US Ambassador Nikki Haley said she was disappointed in the panel “for caving to Russian pressure and making changes to what should have been an independent report.”

She dubbed it as a ‘stain’ and directed the panel to release the original report which revealed “a massive increase in illicit ship-to-ship transfers of petroleum products” for the country, a clear violation of the sanctions. The report stated that the shipment had allegedly been unloaded from Russian ships.

Haley said Russian interference “sets an unacceptable precedent that damages the sanctity of the UN independent panel reporting process.”

Earlier in August, Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia had disclosed that the report’s release had been put on hold “because we disagree with certain elements” which he refused to elaborate.

AP got ahold of the summary of the report which said that North Korea had not ceased nuclear and missile programs. It also stated that it is violating sanctions by transferring coal at sea and flouting an arms embargo and financial sanctions.

When the experts’ initial report was released, Russia and China blocked the UN from further sanctions on the former’s entities and vessels. The products had already been sanctioned before by the US Treasury Department.

Russia’s UN mission said the sanctions were unjustified, reported local news agency TASS.

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