Russia detained three North Korean vessels and more than 200 crew on Friday in the second such incident in two weeks as part of a clampdown on poaching by the secretive nation’s fishermen.
The detentions mark rare confrontation between North Korea and Russia, which sees itself as an important player in international talks on defusing nuclear tensions around the reclusive state’s missile program.
Border guards impounded the vessels and detained 262 crew members, Interfax news agency said, in waters off Russian’s far eastern coast that Moscow considers its exclusive economic zone.
Reuters reported that the border guards could be seen boarding the vessels in body armour in footage released by the Federal Security Service.
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Border guards said they had seized more than 30,000 squid and illegal fishing equipment and were holding the vessels and several motorboats at the port of Nakhodka.
The Kremlin said the move would not damage its ties with Pyongyang, according to Reuters.
“A lot of North Korean poachers cross Russia’s border and poach illegally in Russian territorial waters so of course energetic measures are needed to impose order in this area,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.