Russia vetoes UN resolution on North Korea sanctions amid Ukraine war


New York: Russia exercised its veto power at the United Nations on Thursday, blocking a resolution aimed at renewing an independent panel of experts tasked with investigating North Korea’s violations of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) sanctions, CNN reported.

This move comes amidst heightened tensions between Moscow and the West over the conflict in Ukraine, with North Korea emerging as a significant supplier of munitions to Russia.

Overseeing a substantial expansion of Pyongyang’s ballistic missile programme, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has conducted numerous tests, including those of long-range intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the mainland United States. Historically, Russia has supported international sanctions and UN investigations into North Korea’s illegal weapons programme, according to CNN.

However, the dynamics have shifted amid the Ukraine crisis, leading to increased reliance on North Korea for munitions by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Russian Ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, justified the veto by asserting that the UN sanctions on North Korea are losing relevance and detached from reality. He criticised the sanctions’ efficacy since their inception in 2006, arguing that they have not achieved their intended goals or contributed to a positive change on the Korean Peninsula. Nebenzia highlighted Russia’s concerns about a coalition of countries, led by the US, seeking to strangle Pyongyang, which directly impacts Russia’s national security interests.

Despite the prohibition on arms transfers to or from North Korea under UN sanctions, the Kim regime has emerged as a significant supplier of weapons to aid Russia’s efforts in Ukraine. South Korea’s defence minister revealed that North Korean munitions factories are operating at full capacity to supply armaments to Russia, including millions of artillery shells. Furthermore, Ukraine has reported discovering debris from North Korean-made ballistic missiles following attacks on its targets, as reported by CNN.

The vote in the 15-member Security Council saw 13 members in favour of renewing the panel of experts’ work, with Russia opposing and China abstaining. However, Russia’s veto power ultimately led to the resolution’s failure. The British Ambassador to the UN, Barbara Woodward, expressed deep concern over the Russian veto, emphasising its detrimental impact on North Korean people and the effectiveness of sanctions. She accused Russia of seeking freedom to evade and breach sanctions for its weapons procurement, undermining the integrity of the international non-proliferation regime and the Council’s credibility.

US Deputy Ambassador to the UN, Robert Wood, condemned Russia’s action, questioning how a civilised nation could block the approval. He stressed that while the panel of experts may have been silenced temporarily, advocates for a robust nonproliferation regime would persist. South Korea’s Foreign Ministry also criticised Russia’s decision as irresponsible, further highlighting the international backlash against Moscow’s move, CNN reported.__GK News