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A broadcast reports on North Korea's Kim Jong-un at the Seoul Railway Station in South Korea. Photo: Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

The Biden administration on Wednesday imposed sanctions on North Korean and Russian individuals and entities for supporting North Korea's ballistic missile program.

Driving the news: The announcement follows North Korea's two missile tests in the past week and leader Kim Jong-un's threat to bolster the country's nuclear weapons program.

The big picture: The Treasury Department ordered sanctions on five North Korean officials for obtaining goods for weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and ballistic missile-related programs.

  • The State Department announced penalties against another North Korean person, a Russian man and a Russian company that it said had "engaged in activities or transactions" that helped contribute to the "proliferation of WMD or their means of delivery" by North Korea.
  • The sanctions freeze assets in U.S. jurisdictions of those sanctioned, prevent Americans from doing business with anyone affected by the action and subject foreign companies and individuals to possible penalties if there are transactions with them.

What's next: Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, tweeted on Wednesday night that the United States was proposing UN sanctions over North Korea's "six ballistic missile launches since September ... each of which were in violation of UN Security Council resolutions."

What they're saying: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement that the Biden administration "will use every appropriate tool" to address North Korea's weapons programs, "which constitute a serious threat to international peace and security and undermine the global nonproliferation regime."

Flashback: Biden extends sanctions against North Korea

Editor's note: This article has been updated with comment from Blinken and the headline has been updated to reflect the U.S. proposal to the UN.

Go deeper

Senate Democrats sink Ted Cruz's bill to sanction Nord Stream 2

Sen. Ted Cruz. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Senate on Thursday failed to pass a bill sanctioning the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, after the Biden administration aggressively lobbied Democrats to defeat Sen. Ted Cruz's effort to target the Putin-backed project.

Why it matters: The 55-44 vote is the culmination of Cruz's months-long push to force Democrats into an uncomfortable vote on Nord Stream 2, which the Ukrainian government has said is "no less an existential threat to our security" than the tens of thousands of Russian troops massing on its border. The bill needed 60 votes to pass.

Jan 14, 2022 - World

U.S. braces for Russian escalation as talks hit “dead end”

OSCE Chairman-in-Office Zbigniew Rau said Thursday "the risk of war in the OSCE area is now greater than ever." Photo: Askin Kiyagan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The crisis over Russia's threatening military buildup on the border with Ukraine entered a dangerous and unpredictable new phase in both Vienna and Washington on Thursday.

Driving the news: Russian diplomats said this week's round of security talks from Geneva and Brussels to Vienna have resulted in a "dead end," and it's time for them to return to Moscow to brief President Vladimir Putin on the "very disappointing" state of affairs before deciding the path forward.

45 million Americans under winter storm watches near New England

Computer model projection showing the winds moving around the powerful East Coast storm on Saturday Jan. 29, 2022. Image: https://earth.nullschool.net

Nearly 45 million Americans are under winter weather alerts and warnings from North Carolina to northeastern Maine Thursday night, as a major winter storm threatens the region.

Why it matters: It is predicted to be the biggest blizzard since 2018 to strike the Northeast with more than 2 feet of snow possible in parts of eastern Massachusetts, according to the National Weather Service.