WASHINGTON >> The U.S. targeted two Russian banks Friday as part of new sanctions over alleged support for North Korea and its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
The sanctions come after what the U.S. says were three new ballistic missile launches by North Korea on Tuesday, including one intercontinental ballistic missile.
The launches happened after President Joe Biden ended an Asian trip in which he stressed Washington’s commitment to defending allies from the North’s nuclear threat.
The U.S. says this week’s launches brought North Korea’s total for this year to 23, as the isolated country pushes to develop and expand the range of its nuclear and missile programs.
Friday’s sanctions targets include two Russian banks, Far Eastern and Sputnik, that the U.S. says do business with U.S.-sanctioned North Korean entities. Bank Sputnik also helped North Korea arrange payments for the use of Russian satellite services, the Treasury Department said in announcing the sanctions.
The new sanctions also target a Belarus-based North Korea man who the United States says was helping generate funding for the missile launches, and a trading company.
On Thursday, China and Russia vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution sponsored by the United States that would have imposed tough new sanctions on North Korea for its spate of intercontinental ballistic missile launches that can be used to deliver nuclear weapons.
Thursday’s vote represented the first serious division among the five veto-wielding permanent members of the U.N.’s most powerful body on a North Korea sanctions resolution.