The Trump administration announced a series of sanctions on Tuesday targeting Russia, including ships that are delivering Russian oil to North Korea despite ongoing sanctions and marine companies that are supplying Russia’s military.
The ships, based in Vladivostok and operating for Primorye Maritime Logistics Co. and Gudzon Shipping Co., have defied international sanctions against North Korea by engaging in ship-to-ship transfers of oil to North Korean ships, which then bring the contraband into North Korean ports.
The Trump administration has been warning against this practice for months. But while negotiations with North Korea were going well, the administration largely turned a blind eye to the problem.
The marine companies were sanctioned for doing business with a Russian company, Divetechnoservices, that the Trump administration had sanctioned on June 11 over its links to Russia’s Federal Security Service, or F.S.B., the main security and intelligence agency in the country.
In the months since President Trump’s June summit meeting in Singapore with Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, North Korea has shown few signs that it intends to surrender its nuclear or ballistic weapons or even to slow down the manufacture of new ones. As a result, the administration is once again ratcheting up economic pressure on Pyongyang and its enablers.
Similarly, although Mr. Trump had a warm summit meeting in July in Helsinki with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, his government has been increasing pressure on Moscow. On Tuesday, that pressure grew in a small way with sanctions announced against a variety of marine companies for supplying underwater equipment and diving systems to Russian government agencies, including the F.S.B. The companies include Vela-Marine Ltd., two people associated with sanctioned companies, Marine Igorevna Tsareva and Anton Aleksandrovich Nagibin.
“The Treasury Department is disrupting Russian efforts to circumvent our sanctions,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a news release. “Today’s action against these deceptive actors is critical to ensure that the public is aware of the tactics undertaken by designated parties and that these actors remain blocked from the U.S. financial system.”
The new sanctions against Russia come just as Microsoft released a report showing that the Russian military intelligence unit that sought to influence the 2016 election is now targeting conservative think tanks that have pushed for a tougher line against Moscow.