Russian tankers have supplied oil to North Korea in violation of the UN sanctions, according to a high-ranking sources. Deliveries were made by sea in September and October. According to the experts, the trade in oil and petroleum products was made through transfers from Russian to North Korean tankers in open waters. This has happened several times during the year.
An independent source confirmed the information for the transfer between tankers, but points out that there is no evidence that the Russian state is directly involved with the last deliveries of petroleum products for Pyongyang.
The information comes from satellite images and marine intelligence services. The satellite data accessible actually showed “unusual activity” on the ships. One of them is Vityaz (IMO: 8125703), which made transfer to the North Korean Sam Ma 2 (IMO: 8106496). This information can not be confirmed by the regular AIS systems, because the North Korean tanker has shut down its transponder back in August.
The Russian foreign ministry and customs authorities refuse to comment on the news. The owners of the Russian vessel denies being involved in such an activity.
“It is very dangerous and it would be absolute madness”, said the Vladislavsko-based company, the operator of the product tanker Vityaz.
Last Friday, the US President Donald Trump criticized China, stating that the country had violated sanctions and supplied fuel to Pyongyang. The Chinese authorities have categorically rejected these allegations.
North Korea is dependent on oil imports for the functioning of its economy, but also uses the fuel for its intercontinental ballistic missile programs. The United States has already said that these activities of the country are a threat to peace all over Asia.
Russian Foreign Ministry rejected allegations that Moscow violated UN sanctions against North Korea. In a statement the agency points out that Russia fully and strictly follows the sanctions regime. Without giving details, the Russian Foreign Ministry noted that the UN Security Council resolutions introduced restrictions on North Korean imports of refined petroleum products but did not completely prohibit them.
The council has unanimously approved several packages of sanctions against North Korea for its missile testing and the nuclear program, including a new UN resolution last weekend. It was imposed by the United States and aims to ban almost 90% of the refined oil products to North Korea with ceiling of 500,000 barrels per year, and requires the repatriation of North Koreans working abroad within 12 months. The resolution also limits supply of crude oil to Pyongyang to 4 million barrels per year.