Washington DC, 31 March 2023 (TDI): The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has announced the imposition of sanctions on Ashot Mkrtychev.

He is a Slovakian national, who has been designated for attempting to facilitate arms deals between Russia and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). The sanctions are being imposed under Executive Order (E.O.) 13551.

Between the end of 2022 and early 2023, Mkrtychev worked with DPRK officials to obtain over two dozen kinds of weapons & munitions for Russia in exchange for materials ranging from commercial aircraft to raw materials & commodities to be sent to the DPRK.

Moreover, Mkrtychev’s negotiations with DPRK and Russian officials detailed mutually beneficial cooperation between North Korea and Russia including financial payments and barter arrangements.

In the same vein, he confirmed Russia’s readiness to receive military equipment from the DPRK with senior Russian officials.

Notably, Mkrtychev’s actions are indicative of Russia’s increasing desperation to replace lost military equipment and supplies with modern technology, following sanctions and export controls imposed by a coalition of over 30 countries.

Therefore, the United States (US) and its partners are continuing to provide Ukraine with advanced weapons to defend itself against Russia’s brutal war of choice.

“Schemes like the arms deal pursued by this individual show that Putin is turning to suppliers of last resort like Iran and the DPRK,” said Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen.

“We remain committed to degrading Russia’s military-industrial capabilities, as well as exposing and countering Russian attempts to evade sanctions & obtain military equipment from the DPRK or any other state that is prepared to support its war in Ukraine.” he further added.

Implications of this sanction

As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in the property of Mkrtychev that are in the US, or the possession or control of US persons, are blocked and must be reported to OFAC.

In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked.

Furthermore, any foreign financial institution that knowingly facilitates a significant transaction or provides significant financial services for Mkrtychev could be subject to US correspondent or payable-through account sanctions.

To mention, persons that engage in certain transactions with the designated individual may themselves be exposed to the designation.

It is important to note that the power and integrity of OFAC sanctions derive from two factors:

  • Its ability to designate and add persons to the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN) List
  • Its willingness to remove persons from the SDN List is consistent with the law.

Also Read: Implications of unlawful weapons of DPRK

In a nutshell, the ultimate goal of sanctions is not to punish but to bring about a positive behavior change.

Thus, OFAC remains dedicated to weakening Russia’s military-industrial capabilities, while also uncovering and countering any Russian efforts to circumvent sanctions.