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Russia vetoes renewal of North Korea sanctions monitoring

Russia's Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia (file photo)

Russia has vetoed a resolution at the UN Security Council that effectively ends the monitoring by a panel of UN experts of sanctions against North Korea. 

The veto does not end UN sanctions against North Korea.

North Korea has been under UN sanctions for its ballistic missile and nuclear programs since 2006.

The panel of independent experts has monitored those sanctions for the past 15 years, reporting twice a year to the Security Council.

Moscow's veto at the Security Council on Thursday blocked the body from renewing the annual mandate for a panel of experts. 

The vote in the 15-member Council was 13 in favor, Russia against, and China abstaining.

Just before the vote, Russia's UN Ambassador Vasily Nebenzia said the panel “has continued to focus on trivial matters that are not commensurate with the problems facing the peninsula.”

He said Western governments are trying to “strangle” Pyongyang and that sanctions are losing their “relevance” and “detached from reality.”

"Russia has called for the council to adopt a decision to hold an open and honest review of the Council sanctions... on an annual basis."

The current mandate of the panel expires at the end of April.

In its most recent report earlier in March, the panel of UN experts claimed that North Korea "continued to flout" sanctions, including by launching ballistic missiles and breaching oil import limits. 

It also claimed it is investigating reports of arms shipments from Pyongyang to Russia for use in the war in Ukraine.

Both Russia and North Korea have denied the accusations.

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