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U.S. sanctions Russia, North Korea after Pyongyang launches missile that can reach Washington

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  • The U.S. imposed fresh sanctions on Russia and North Korea on Thursday for the transfer of sensitive items to Pyongyang’s missile program.

  • The move was made on the same day Kim Jong-un ordered the launch of a Hwasong-17, believed to be North Korea’s longest-range weapon and the world’s largest road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

  • The missile reached a maximum altitude of 3,880 miles (approximately 6,244 kilometers) and traveled 680 miles (approximately 1,094 kilometers) before landing in waters between North Korea and Japan.

  • If it followed a normal trajectory, the missile could reach the East Coast of the United States.

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The U.S. has imposed new sanctions on Russian and North Korean entities and individuals over the transfer of sensitive items to Pyongyang’s missile program, the State Department announced on Thursday.

The move was made on the same day North Korea fired its most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) yet — the Hwasong-17 — under the orders of Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un.

First revealed in October 2020, the Hwasong-17 is believed to be not only North Korea’s longest-range weapon, but also the world’s largest road-mobile ICBM to carry nuclear warheads.

During its 67-minute flight on Thursday, the missile reached a maximum altitude of 3,880 miles (approximately 6,244 kilometers) and traveled 680 miles (approximately 1,094 kilometers) before landing in waters between North Korea and Japan, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), Pyongyang’s official mouthpiece.

The launch marked Pyongyang’s first full ICBM test since 2017 and immediately drew responses from neighbors South Korea and Japan.

Seoul reportedly responded by launching its own missiles from land, sea and air to demonstrate its “capability and willingness to respond immediately and punish.” On the other hand, Tokyo condemned the launch as “outrageous” and “unforgivable” and agreed to strengthen bilateral cooperation with Seoul to counter the threat.

Japanese media also reported that Hwasong-17 could reach the U.S. East Coast if launched on a normal trajectory.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki described the launch as a “brazen violation” of U.N. Security Council resolutions and urged Pyongyang to discontinue its actions. 

“The United States will take all necessary measures to ensure the security of the American homeland and Republic of Korea and Japanese allies,” she added.

Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department sanctioned the following entities and individuals: Ardis Group of Companies LLC (Russia), PFK Profpodshipnik LLC (Russia), Igor Aleksandrovich Michurin (Russia), the Second Academy of Natural Science Foreign Affairs Bureau (North Korea) and Ri Sung Chol (North Korea).

“These measures are part of our ongoing efforts to impede the DPRK’s [North Korea’s] ability to advance its missile program, and they highlight the negative role Russia plays on the world stage as a proliferator to programs of concern,” said State Department spokesperson Ned Price.

Additionally, the U.S. sanctioned Chinese company Zhengzhou Nanbei Instrument Equipment Co. Ltd. for supplying Syria with equipment from the Australia Group, an informal group of countries that ensures non-export of materials used to develop chemical and biological weapons.


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