(Washington) The White House announced on Thursday that it had “new information showing that Russia is actively seeking to obtain more ammunition from North Korea”, and to impose sanctions against a man accused of having participated in the exchanges between the two countries.

John Kirby of the National Security Council recalled that according to US intelligence information, North Korea had recently provided military assistance to Russia.

According to Washington, Russia, which can no longer obtain weapons from Western countries because of the heavy sanctions imposed on it since the start of the war in Ukraine, is seeking to buy them elsewhere.

The United States Secretary of the Treasury therefore sanctioned Ashot Mkrtychev, a Slovak national, for having, “between late 2022 and early 2023, […] worked with North Korean officials to obtain more than two dozen types of weapons and ammunition for Russia in exchange for materials ranging from commercial aircraft and raw materials to products to be sent to North Korea,” a statement read.

“Russia has lost over 9,000 pieces of heavy military equipment since the war began (in Ukraine), and thanks in part to multilateral sanctions and export controls, Putin is increasingly desperate to replace them,” said Economy and Finance Secretary Janet Yellen, quoted in the statement.

“Schemes like the arms deal sought by this individual show that Putin is turning to suppliers of last resort like Iran and North Korea,” Yellen said.

Ashot Mkrtychev “confirmed Russia’s readiness to receive military equipment from North Korea” and, in negotiations with senior Russian officials, “the necessary Russian preparations for a proposed deal were complete and (they) were prepared to receive and transfer materials from North Korea,” according to OFAC, the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.

The Slovak also “worked with a Russian person to locate commercial aircraft that could be delivered to North Korea.”

With these sanctions, the possible assets of Ashot Mkrtychev in the United States are frozen, and it is forbidden for any person or company to conduct commercial exchanges with him, under penalty of seeing himself in turn sanctioned by the United States.