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22 Feb, 2024 02:58

Putin’s gift to Kim Jong-un ‘illegal’ – Washington

International sanctions bar the transfer of vehicles to North Korea, a senior US spokesman said
Putin’s gift to Kim Jong-un ‘illegal’ – Washington

The US State Department has argued that Russia violated international sanctions on North Korea when President Vladimir Putin gifted a luxury car to DPRK leader Kim Jong-un.

Asked about the move during a Wednesday press briefing, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said Putin’s transfer of a Russian-made Aurus to Kim likely ran afoul of UN penalties on Pyongyang.

”UN Security Council resolutions do require all UN member states to prohibit both the supply of transportation vehicles and the supply of luxury automobiles to the DPRK. And if this is true, it would appear to be once again Russia violating UN Security Council resolutions that it itself supported,” he said.

Miller went on to joke that Kim should have gotten “the extended warranty.”

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has dismissed any suggestion that Moscow violated sanctions, however, responding to similar allegations from South Korean officials on Tuesday.

”If Seoul has questions about ‘compliance with UN sanctions’ against the DPRK, then instead of running to the microphones they should to contact the UN Security Council sanctions committee,” she wrote in a Telegram post, adding “It would be interesting to know what kind of pressure Washington is exerting on Seoul to disrupt legitimate trade relations with other countries.”

Putin’s gift was first reported on Tuesday in North Korean state media, which said the vehicle was transferred to DPRK authorities last weekend. Kim Yo-jong, Kim’s younger sister and a senior North Korean official, called the episode “a clear demonstration of the special personal relationship” between her brother and Putin.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov later confirmed the reports, and said the car given to Kim was indeed an Aurus, but did not specify which model.

Putin met with Kim last September in Russia’s Far East, where the North Korean leader toured various military and civilian facilities. The two heads of state visited the Vostochny cosmodrome, where Putin showcased two Aurus state vehicles.

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