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Russia gave an assist to North Korea. Here's what they did.

Russia has been providing under-the-table assistance to North Korea during the economic sanctions against North Korea. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

While U.S. sanctions squeeze and isolate North Korea, Russia has taken actions to ease the rogue nation's pain. Sunday, internet analysts found that Russia has provided North Korea with a new internet connection, according to a Washington Post report.

What's the big deal?

Previously, China provided North Korea with internet services, and having only one provider made North Korea susceptible to cyberattacks shutting the whole network down.

The new network, which supplements the Chinese network, potentially increases North Korea's ability to defend itself against cyberattacks as well as to go on the offensive.

The U.S. has conducted cyberattacks on North Korea multiple times in the past, and with the two nations on the verge of potential conflict, cyberwarfare could come into play down the road.

What else has Russia done?

Russian smugglers have been working to quietly export oil and other supplies to North Korea to provide North Korea a lifeline to weather international sanctions without giving in to demands to shut down its nuclear program.

Allegedly, Russian entrepreneurs are establishing front companies to mask the illegal trade with North Korea that circumvents internationally agreed-upon sanctions.

Why is this a problem?

If economic sanctions against North Korea don't deter the country from its aggressive weapons development, that brings the U.S. closer to having to use a military option, which by most accounts will result in many deaths on both sides.

China is North Korea's primary trading partner, and it has agreed to pressure North Korea through sanctions. But if Russians are cutting North Korea a break on the side, the entire plan is undermined.


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