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NYT Shocking Report: US “Ally” Ukraine Is Source Of North Korean Missile Engines

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NYT Shocking Report: US "Ally" Ukraine Is Source Of North Korean Missile Engines

Originally appeared at ZeroHedge

When the US State Department supported Ukraine domestic forces and nationalist elements to stage a successful and deadly coup against then pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych in 2014, the outcome was supposed to be a nation that is a undisputed US ally and persistent threat, distraction and non-NATO opponent to bordering Russia. Instead, it now appears that it has been Ukraine which was, as the NYT writes, the secret behind the success of North Korea’s ballistic missile program.

Specifically, in a blockbuster report this morning, the NYT alleges that North Korea has been making black-market purchases of powerful rocket engines from a Ukrainian factory citing “expert analysis being published Monday and classified assessments by American intelligence agencies.”

The studies may solve the mystery of how North Korea began succeeding so suddenly after a string of fiery missile failures, some of which may have been caused by American sabotage of its supply chains and cyberattacks on its launches. After those failures, the North changed designs and suppliers in the past two years, according to a new study by Michael Elleman, a missile expert at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

According to the report, analysts who studied photographs of Kim Jong-un, inspecting the new rocket motors concluded that they derive from designs that once powered the Soviet Union’s missile fleet. “The engines were so powerful that a single missile could hurl 10 thermonuclear warheads between continents.”

Since the alleged engines have been linked to only a few former Soviet sites, government investigators and experts have focused their inquiries on a missile factory in Dnipro, Ukraine, on the edge of the territory where Russia is fighting a low-level war to break off part of Ukraine. During the Cold War, the factory made the deadliest missiles in the Soviet arsenal, including the giant SS-18. It remained one of Russia’s primary producers of missiles even after Ukraine gained independence.

NYT Shocking Report: US "Ally" Ukraine Is Source Of North Korean Missile Engines

Ukraine President Poroshenko visiting the Yuzhmash plant in Dnipro in 2014

However, after the 2014 coup which ousted Ukraine’s pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych, the state-owned factory, known as Yuzhmash, has fallen on hard times. The Russians canceled upgrades of their nuclear fleet.

“The factory is underused, awash in unpaid bills and low morale. Experts believe it is the most likely source of the engines that in July powered the two ICBM tests, which were the first to suggest that North Korea has the range, if not necessarily the accuracy or warhead technology, to threaten American cities.

In other words, it is America’s latest Eastern European “ally” that is behind what is rapidly emerging as a potential nuclear threat that can blanket as much as half of the continental US.

“It’s likely that these engines came from Ukraine — probably illicitly,” Elleman told the NYT in an interview. “The big question is how many they have and whether the Ukrainians are helping them now. I’m very worried.”

Bolstering his conclusion, he added, was a finding by United Nations investigators that North Korea tried six years ago to steal missile secrets from the Ukrainian complex. Two North Koreans were caught, and a U.N. report said the information they tried to steal was focused on advanced “missile systems, liquid-propellant engines, spacecraft and missile fuel supply systems.” Investigators now believe that, amid the chaos of post-revolutionary Ukraine, Pyongyang tried again.

Considering Ukraine is a close US ally – just ask John McCain – maybe a phone call to current Ukraine president, oligarch billionaire Poroshenko, should suffice?

To be sure, the factory itself would never admit this stunning allegation: last month, Yuzhmash denied reports that the factory complex was struggling for survival and selling its technologies abroad, in particular to China. Its website says the company does not, has not and will not participate in “the transfer of potentially dangerous technologies outside Ukraine.”

Making matters worse of the US “allies” in Ukraine, American investigators do not believe that denial, though they say there is no evidence that the government of President Petro O. Poroshenko, who recently visited the White House, had any knowledge or control over what was happening inside the complex.

The obvious implication here is that – if accurate – Ukraine had been working with North Korea for years, well into the administration of Barack Obama, the same president under whom the Ukraine coup was greenlight, which would also suggest that the current North Korean crisis is explicitly a consequence of Obama’s foreign policies.

Which is why we read the following amusing disclaime in the NYT: “How the Russian-designed engines, called the RD-250, got to North Korea is still a mystery.

Furthermore, Elleman told the NYT that the fact that the powerful engines did get to North Korea, despite a raft of United Nations sanctions, suggests a broad intelligence failure involving the many nations that monitor Pyongyang. Failure or perhaps just US intel closing its eyes to what Ukraine may be doing through the back door.

The NYT writes that “it is unclear who is responsible for selling the rockets and the design knowledge, and intelligence officials have differing theories about the details. But Mr. Elleman makes a strong circumstantial case that would implicate the deteriorating factory complex and its underemployed engineers. “I feel for those guys,” said Mr. Elleman, who visited the factory repeatedly a decade ago while working on federal projects to curb weapon threats. “They don’t want to do bad things.”

One can only imagine what Elleman would “feel for those guys” if the factory turned out to be Russian, or Chinese.

Describing North Korea’s long history of smuggling rocket technology over the decades – mostly from the former USSR – the NYT writes that eventually, the North turned to an alternative font of engine secrets — the Yuzhmash plant in Ukraine, as well as its design bureau, Yuzhnoye. The team’s engines were potentially easier to copy because they were designed not for cramped submarines but roomier land-based missiles. That simplified the engineering.

Economically, the plant and design bureau faced new headwinds after Russia in early 2014 invaded and annexed Crimea, a part of Ukraine. Relations between the two nations turned icy, and Moscow withdrew plans to have Yuzhmash make new versions of the SS-18 missile. In July 2014, a report for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace warned that such economic upset could put Ukrainian missile and atomic experts “out of work and could expose their crucial know-how to rogue regimes and proliferators.”

It was right: The first clues that a Ukrainian engine had fallen into North Korean hands came in September when Mr. Kim supervised a ground test of a new rocket engine that analysts called the biggest and most powerful to date. Norbert Brügge, a German analyst, reported that photos of the engine firing revealed strong similarities between it and the RD-250, a Yuzhmash model.

Alarms rang louder after a second ground firing of the North’s new engine, in March, and its powering of the flight in May of a new intermediate-range missile, the Hwasong-12. It broke the North’s record for missile distance. Its high trajectory, if leveled out, translated into about 2,800 miles, or far enough to fly beyond the American military base at Guam.

On June 1, Mr. Elleman struck an apprehensive note. He argued that the potent engine clearly hailed from “a different manufacturer than all the other engines that we’ve seen.”

Mr. Elleman said the North’s diversification into a new line of missile engines was important because it undermined the West’s assumptions about the nation’s missile prowess: “We could be in for surprises.”

That is exactly what happened. The first of the North’s two tests in July of a new missile, the Hwasong-14, went a distance sufficient to threaten Alaska, surprising the intelligence community. The second went far enough to reach the West Coast, and perhaps Denver or Chicago.

If the NYT report is accurate, perhaps it is time to re-evaluate the logic behind ongoing US support of Ukraine: as a reminder, two weeks ago the WSJ reported that Pentagon and State Department officials have devised plans to hit Russia where it hurts the most, and supply Ukraine with antitank missiles and other weaponry, and are now seeking White House approval at a time when ties between Moscow and Washington are as bad as during any point under the Obama administration. In light of the news that Ukraine may be responsible for weaponizing the biggest nuclear threat to the US, perhaps it might not be a bad idea to “delay” or maybe even this deadly support for Ukraine, even if it means an outpouring of fury from neo-cons like John McCain.

* * *

Finally, in light of the above, perhaps it is time to re-address the following article from March 2015: “Clinton Foundation’s Deep Financial Ties to Ukrainian Oligarch Revealed” which based on a WSJ report, showed that more than any other nation, it was Ukraine donors that were the most generous, especially the Victor Pinchuk foundation: “Between 2009 and 2013, including when Mrs. Clinton was secretary of state, the Clinton Foundation received at least $8.6 million from the Victor Pinchuk Foundation, according to that foundation, which is based in Kiev, Ukraine. It was created by Mr. Pinchuk, whose fortune stems from a pipe-making company. He served two terms as an elected member of the Ukrainian Parliament and is a proponent of closer ties between Ukraine and the European Union.”

As the WSJ reported at the time:

In 2008, Mr. Pinchuk made a five-year, $29 million commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative, a wing of the foundation that coordinates charitable projects and funding for them but doesn’t handle the money. The pledge was to fund a program to train future Ukrainian leaders and professionals “to modernize Ukraine,” according to the Clinton Foundation. Several alumni are current members of the Ukrainian Parliament.

The Pinchuk foundation said its donations were intended to help to make Ukraine “a successful, free, modern country based on European values.” It said that if Mr. Pinchuk was lobbying the State Department about Ukraine, “this cannot be seen as anything but a good thing.”

NYT Shocking Report: US "Ally" Ukraine Is Source Of North Korean Missile Engines

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Gary Sellars

Hilarious!!! Not sure who is more stupid – the Ukropi banderite orcs or the fuckwit Murican neocons who have feeding and arming them…

John Whitehot

also hilarious that thanks to these fuckheads, jews go around sincerely claiming to be more clever than the others. Go figure, I’d feel like a goddamned Einstein too among this rogue.

Michael Qiao

I think the Ukrops duped the Yankees so I guess it’s the latter


This is typical of the unintended consequences that afflict the majority of the US Foreign Policies.
The de facto warlord of the oblast where the factory is situated just happens to be a rather a unattractive Jew ( in all senses of the word) who was born in Ukraine. He also has Cypriot and Israeli citizenship :)


This revelation has made my day, lol.


I wouldn’t be too sure the consequences were unintended – it’s quite possible they were intended as an excuse to invade NK.


That could well be so, I agree.

Kim Jong



So…. THIS is how the USA gets to declare with such adamant certainty North Korea is such a serious threat to the US mainland. They KNOW because they allowed the rockets to slip thru’ to create the excuse to build the threat to warrant the airstrikes that will regime-change North Korea into a nice SK-like US ally.

Just like they KNEW Saddam had weapons of mass destruction – because the British had supplied Iraq with those WMD. And they didn’t believe he’d given what he didn’t away because well, no-one just gives such weapons away…………..

I can see jaws clenching all over Europe when they read this lot.


That’s not a valid reason to invade countries. And, Iraq didn’t have WMD. And WMD is called an army arsenal. I have never see in my life an army withtout WMD. XD.


There is no cause – beyond arrant arrogance – to invade sovereign nations and wage aggressive wars on them.

I have never see in my life an army withtout WMD. XD.
I’m sure every patriotic American is absolutely certain that “America does not have and has NEVER used WMD.” … Just as every patriotic Israeli and true Israeli supporter believes that “the IDF is the most moral army in the world.”

You simply MUST be mistaken.
America drops bombs on people to save them from their govts and
Israel drops bombs on Gazan homes to defend herself.


There is a cause. If someone make war you respond. Iraq didn’t make war agaoinst USA nor Vietnam, … USA is a terrorist country but everybody likes to please them unless Germany that fight them twice in WW1 and WW2.

Germany is the real tiger. Japan is the real tiger. Don’t be mistaken.


Response to aggressive invasion is not invasion of aggression.
Germany and Japan are occupied by waaay too many US bases each….

Numbers for Germany, Japan, Italy and S/Korea are … rather shocking: http://dra.american.edu//islandora/object/auislandora%3A55685


Europe betrayed Germany. Now, Europe is crying.

USA will destroy every countrty 1 by 1 because most people are just stupid. Don’t, forget that Germans are very smart and didn’t figfht agaisnt USA for nothing or because they are stupids.


Europe betrayed Germany?


Yes. Europe betrayed Germany. Now, Europeans just have to eat what Americans give them and they don’t cry. Europeans like to talk about the immigrates but they never dare to say a world against USA that import them. XD.

I don’t like stupid people.


“Europeans like to talk about the immigrates but they never dare to say a world against USA that import them. XD.

I see how that is “the US betrayed Germany” but HOW did Europe betray Germany? (Pretty much, now that the Brits have gone home, Europe IS Germany. Everyone else is kinda useless and ranges from rather to very insignificant.)


Europe fought with USA. I don’t understand why they are crying now. They must eat what USA gives them to eat. Period.

chris chuba

It’s amazing that there is even a hint of sympathy for out of work Ukrainians while the Western block is dead set against allowing the people of Crimea to have electricity generating turbines and is trying to make it difficult for Russia to build a commercial bridge to allow them to have food and water. Wow, what great humanitarians we have here.

This should also end the myth that NATO and western expansion was necessary to prevent this sort of illicit arms trafficking. The AK74’s used in Paris came from eastern Europe.

Politolog Externista

where did u get ak-74 ? ever heard of vz.58 ? Its actually better than AKM in most regards.

Terra Cotta Woolpuller

The Ukrops Banderites bought the RD-250 engine through the blackmarket and never bothered altering them and sold them to NK . The alleged new rocket technology was them buying illicit parts from Russia ,and reassembling them. These Banderites owe no allegiance to anyone, just ask Brzeizinski’s Daughter Mira about her Families Nazi past in Ukraine.


I wouldn’t be surprised that come the next round of Iranian ICBM missile test similar engines were to appear.


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Cheryl Brandon

So, Obomber’s./Robert Kagan and and his Victoria Nuland’s Nazis in Ukraine are doing business with North Korea; Nice? This is quite reassuring to USA government I guess?


The CIA’s myopic manufacturing of chaos and regime change against targeted foreign states can have extraordinary blow-back consequences. After all, the 1979 Iranian Islamic revolution was a decades in the making popular revolt against a US puppet Shah, who was installed after the CIA deposed the post-1945 democratically elected Iranian leadership. That is a classic example of US attempting to impose complete control over, and yet by that very course of action ultimately losing complete control over, a targeted resource rich foreign state. But the US are terrible losers and are still endlessly writing think-tank/CIA white-papers about how to destabilize the current Iranian state with intent to try and replay the same routine all over again…


Zerohedge is about as trustworthy as NYT. Although I don’t doubt some of the ‘facts’ in this story, I like the way they both insert ‘givens’ in both narratives…such as NYT ‘after Russia in early 2014 invaded and annexed Crimea, a part of Ukraine’ and Zerohedge ‘on the edge of the territory where Russia is fighting a low-level war to break off part of Ukraine’. “amid the chaos of post-revolutionary Ukraine, Pyongyang tried again.”…and whose fault is that? Another gift from McCain and the Ziocons.

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