August 21, 2018 / 3:13 PM / 3 months ago

U.S. sanctions Russian firms, vessels over N. Korea oil transfers

WASHINGTON, Aug 21 (Reuters) - The United States on Tuesday announced sanctions on two Russian shipping companies and six vessels it said were involved in the transfer of refined petroleum products to North Korean vessels in violation of U.N. restrictions.

The U.S. Treasury identified the firms as Vladivostok-based shipping companies Primorye Maritime Logistics Co Ltd (Primorye) and Gudzon Shipping Co LLC (Gudzon).

It also named six Russian-flagged vessels: Bella, Bogatyr, Neptun, Partizan, Patriot and Sevastopol.

“Ship-to-ship transfers with North Korea-flagged vessels from Russia or elsewhere of any goods being supplied, sold, or transferred to or from (North Korea) are prohibited under the U.N. Security Council resolutions on North Korea and are sanctionable under U.S. law,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

“Consequences for violating these sanctions will remain in place until we have achieved the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea.”

The United States has been pressuring North Korea via sanctions to give up its nuclear weapons program.

Tuesday’s announcement came just days after Washington imposed sanctions on a Russian port service agency and Chinese companies for aiding North Korean ships and selling alcohol and tobacco to Pyongyang in breach of U.S. sanctions.

After last week’s announcement, Russia said the United States had acted without evidence on the basis of groundless accusations when imposing sanctions on the Russian company. It said it was working on retaliatory measures. (Reporting by David Brunnstrom Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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