Russia Reports Supply of 100,000 Barrels of Refined Petroleum to North Korea in 2023

SEOUL – Russia disclosed to the United Nations its supply of approximately 100,000 barrels of refined petroleum to North Korea in the previous year. This information was revealed through data from the U.N. Security Council (UNSC) sanctions committee on North Korea.

According to Yonhap News Agency, Russia reported the provision of 50,523 barrels of refined petroleum to North Korea from March to December last year. This submission is in line with the UNSC Resolution 2397, adopted in 2017, which caps member countries' shipments of refined petroleum to North Korea at 500,000 barrels per year. The resolution requires member states to report their monthly supply to the U.N.

Data for January and February 2023 was not available on the committee's website. However, Russia had previously reported exports of 44,655 barrels and 10,666 barrels for these months, respectively. Combining these figures indicates that Russia supplied a total of 105,845 barrels of refined petroleum to Pyongyang in 2023.

In December 2022, Russia resumed supplying refined petroleum to North Korea, marking the first such provision in over two years. Despite increasing military cooperation between Russia and North Korea, Moscow's 2023 supply remained significantly lower than the pre-pandemic levels. Records show that Russia exported 241,114 barrels and 277,365 barrels of refined petroleum in 2018 and 2019, respectively.

The report also suggests that North Korea may have resorted to illegal ship-to-ship transfers to obtain petroleum during the period when its borders were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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