Russian oil tankers smuggle oil to north Korea, in violation of u.n. sanctions

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The Hong Kong tanker Lighthouse Winmore, chartered by Taiwanese company Billions Bunker Group Corp., was impounded by South Korea.

London/Moscow, according to two senior security sources in Western Europe in recent months, Russia’s provide fuel tankers at least three times to north Korea, to the hidden communist nation provides an economic lifeline.

Security sources say that sales of oil or petroleum products from Russia, the world’s second-largest oil exporter and veto-wielding members of the u.n. security council, violate u.n. sanctions.

In October and November of transport shows that since the “Reuters reported in September,” north Korean ships were sailing from Russia directly to their homes, smuggled from Russia to the north Korea has evolved into a loading of the goods at sea.

The first security source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters: “Russian vessels have repeatedly violated sanctions by shipping and transporting petrochemical products to north Korean ships this year.

Related: U.S. sanctions north Korea missile experts offer mediation to Russia

A second source, independently confirming the existence of the Russian and north Korean ships’ fuel trade, said there was no evidence of Russian involvement in recent transfers.

The two security source quoted the Russian far east port operations in the Pacific ships of naval intelligence and satellite images, but not told Reuters more details, according to these data have been classified.

The Russian foreign ministry and Russian customs declined to comment. A ship owner accused of smuggling oil to north Korea has denied any such action.

A recent report from China in response to President Donald trump’s criticism on Friday denied that it had illegally transported oil products to north Korea.

North Korea relies on imported fuel to keep its economy humming. The U.S. says an intercontinental ballistic missile and nuclear program also requires oil to threaten peace in Asia.

“The ships were smuggled from Russia’s far east port to Russia’s Russian fuel,” said the first security source, speaking on condition of anonymity.

By Reuters consultation, according to Reuters Eikon ship satellite positioning data by security source named Russian ships happened unusual move, including closing to provide accurate location of the repeater.

Security sources say the oil tanker Vityaz on the Russian flag is a vessel that transfers fuel to north Korean ships.

According to Russia’s port control document, Vityaz left the port of slavanka, near Vladivostok, Russia, on October 15, filled with 1,600 tons of oil.

Documents submitted by the ship’s agent to the Russian state port authority show that its destination was a fishing fleet in the sea of Japan. Shipping data showed that when the ship pulled into the open sea, the ship turned off its transponder for several days.

According to European security sources, in October, Vityaz and Sam 2, a north Korean flag carrier, carried out ship transshipment on the high seas.

Reuters could not independently verify the transfer, as ship tracking data showed that Sam 2 had closed the transponder from early August.

The Russian ship’s owner denied any contact with the north Korean ship, but said it did not know the ship was refueling.

The ship’s owner, yaroslav guo, a deputy director at Vladivostok Alisa LTD., said the ship had no contact with the north Korean ship.

An official with the shipping agency, east coast co., declined to comment.

Shipping, according to data from the other two hang Russian flag ship in the middle of the middle of October to November has also conducted a similar journey, from Slavic lubyanka port and port of nakhodka in the high seas, closed repeater.

Reuters reported in September, although announced other destinations, there are at least eight north Korean ships left Russia Russia this year load fuel to their homes, U.S. officials said the practice is often used to destroy the sanctions.

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