January 12, 2024

US imposes sanctions to disrupt the transfer of arms between DPRK and Russia

On January 11, 2024, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control and the US Department of State announced the designations of one individual and three entities involved in the transfer of ballistic missiles from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (“DPRK”) to Russia, and Russia’s testing of those missiles, since November 2023.  According to the State Department, the United States issued these sanctions in an effort to “disrupt and expose” the transfer of arms between the DPRK and Russia.  The designations were imposed pursuant to Executive Order 14024, which authorizes sanctions related to specified harmful foreign activities by the Government of Russia.  Among the designees is Vladimir Mikheychik, the General Director of Joint Stock Company the 224th Flight Unit State Airlines, a state-owned enterprise that was reportedly spun off from Russia’s Air Force to provide commercial air cargo transport services.  While the 224th Flight Unit State Airlines was previously designated by the United States in May 2023 for providing material support to the Private Military Company Wagner, the entity is now being designated for being owned or controlled by the Government of Russia.

In addition to the designations, OFAC and the State Department identified four aircraft owned by the Command of the Military Transport Aviation (“VTA”), an entity that was designated by the United States in 2022 and 2023.  According to the State Department, the aircraft were identified for their involvement in the transfer of DPRK ballistic missiles and missile-related cargo in November and December 2023.  As a result of these designations, all property and interests in property of the designated persons within the United States or within the possession or control of a US person are blocked, and US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions involving a designated person.  Entities owned 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked.

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