Russia resumed oil exports to North Korea in December, United Nations data showed, the first such shipment reported since 2022, as the two countries deepen ties and the United States warns of the risks of supplying weapons to Pyongyang.

North Korea seeks close ties with the Kremlin, backing Moscow after its invasion of Ukraine last year, and blaming the United States and the West for what it says is a politics of hegemony.

Russia exported 67,300 barrels of refined oil to North Korea in April, the first shipment that the United Nations has been aware of since Moscow said it shipped 255 barrels to Pyongyang in August 2022.

Under UN sanctions imposed on North Korea over its nuclear and missile programs, countries are required to report monthly sales of refined oil to the Security Council’s North Korea Sanctions Committee.

Oil sales began shortly after train travel between Russia and North Korea resumed in November for the first time since 2022, raising expectations of a resumption of trade.

A State Department spokesman said the United States is concerned that North Korea plans to deliver more weapons to Russia, after its leader Kim Jong Un pledged to strengthen strategic cooperation with Moscow.

The spokesman added that although Pyongyang denied selling weapons to Russia, the United States confirmed that North Korea delivered weapons, including missiles, including shoulder-launched missiles, to Russia’s Wagner group, in November.

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