Russia has been facilitating North Korean coals shipments to third parties as the sanctions against Pyongyang restrict North Korean hard currency inflows. Reuters reports Russia has become a transit hub for illicit North Korean coal shipments in an apparent breach of United Nations sanctions, according to Western European intelligence sources.
Russian ports of Nakhodka and Kholmsk have been used at least three times to accept coal and the reload it on ships bound for South Korea or Japan, declared Reuters.
“Russia’s port of Nakhodka is becoming a transhipping hub for North Korean coal,” said one of the European security sources, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of international diplomacy around North Korea.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied the allegations, “Russia is a responsible member of the international community.”
U.S. President Donald Trump has commented on the Russian recently, saying Moscow was ‘not helping’ when it comes to forcing North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program. Trump declared ‘China was helping’ but Russia was not. Perhaps these coal shipments were what he was referring to.
It has also been well reported that Russian black market operators are also helping finished goods to get into the North. Russia is also employing thousands of North Korean laborers in the Russian Far East and training its engineers in its universities in transportation and logistics.
North Korea was founded under Stalin and the Soviet regime in Russia. There is a long and integrated history between the two nations, which share a common border. It is unlikely that Russia will stop facilitating Kim Jong-un’s nuclear wishes, as Russia does not see a nuclear North Korea as a threat.