Russian President responds to heightened scrutiny over energy connections with Pyongyang.
Putin and Russia’s trade actions have been placed under a microscope in recent months as tensions grow between North Korea and the West.
Putin stated during a briefing after a BRICs summit in China: “We have supplies of 40,000 tonnes of oil and oil products to North Korea a quarter. I asked (Russian Energy Minister Alexander) Novak; 40,000 a quarter is zero. Not a single (Russian) energy major carries out supplies there.”
Fear that a military conflict may break soon out between North Korea and the US have heightened tensions, and there is concern that Russia may simply be paying lip service to United Nations sanctions.
Bilateral trade between the two countries has been decreasing for the last four years, from $112.7 million in 2013 to $76.9 million in 2016, according to Russian Federal Customs Service statistics. But it more than doubled to $31.4 million in the first quarter of 2017 in year-on-year terms, according to Reuters.
The bulk of Russia’s exports to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea are oil, coal and refined products.
Russia have claimed that the rise in trade in 2017 with a increase in oil exports to North Korea.