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Russia expresses ‘regret’ over new US bans against North Korea

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Russian government spokesman Dmitry Peskov

Moscow has slammed a fresh wave of sanctions against North Korea which also target Russian firms as well as a company director among other entities and individuals.

The US Treasury on Thursday blacklisted nine companies and government institutions, including two Russian firms, and three people over what was called their support for North Korea’s weapons program.

Russian government spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday that the move by the US is “a factor that continues to have a negative effect on our bilateral relations.”

The measures “continue, unfortunately, the previous line. This provokes nothing but regret,” he added.

Deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov also denounced the measures as “showing a lack of ability to look at things more broadly and a knee-jerk.”

He said that Kremlin was alarmed by Washington’s decision, which has given him a “sense of bad déjà-vu.”

The US reassured on Thursday that it “will continue to target individuals and entities responsible for financing and supporting North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs,” according to John Smith, director of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.

The North, already under an array of sanctions for its missile and nuclear programs, says it is developing arms as deterrence against the US threat. It has reaffirmed that would not abandon its missile and nuclear programs unless the US ended its hostility toward Pyongyang.

The United States, which is unsettled by North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs, has adopted a war-like posture and sent a strike group to the Korean Peninsula.

Russia on Monday warned the US against any “unilateral action” against Pyongyang.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said any response to Pyongyang’s nuclear activities should not violate international law.

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