U.S. accuses Russia of covering up breaches of North Korea sanctions

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"Also sanctioned, .is the firm's CEO, Jong Song-hwa and its Russia-based front company, Volasys Silver Star".

The dispute between Russian Federation and the U.S as well as Western and other Security Council members has delayed the official release of the six-month report by the expert panel monitoring sanctions against North Korea. Sanctions were toughened last time on December 22 of the a year ago.

Under a United Nations Security Council resolution adopted in December, UN member states are required to expel North Korean overseas workers within 24 months due to their contribution to the regime's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.

Russian Federation and China have suggested the Security Council discuss easing sanctions after US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met in June and Kim pledged to work toward denuclearization.

The United States on Thursday sanctioned two companies in China and Russian Federation for allegedly facilitating North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

Kim at the summit pledged to work toward denuclearization, although USA and other officials have said the North has made little progress to the stated goal.

United States ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, blasted the panel for not doing enough to monitor sanctions imposed by Donald Trump, and "for caving to Russian pressure and making changes to what should have been an independent report".

The United States and other council members have said there must be strict enforcement of sanctions until Pyongyang acts.

The US has been using sanctions to maintain pressure on Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programme, even as it continues to engage in diplomacy.

More sanctions slapped on entities that allegedly had a hand in helped North Korea develop nuclear weapons. The US imposed sanctions this summer on two Russian shipping companies and six vessels, on a Russian port service agency as well as Chinese companies.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, one diplomat said the amended report removed some references to Russians accused of breaching North Korea sanctions.

"This is a risky precedent and a stain on the important work of the Panel", Haley said, calling for the initial version of the report - dating from early August - to be published. "The full implementation of U.N. Security Council resolutions remains mandatory for all member states - including Russian Federation".

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