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

Tyler Durden's picture

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 allegedly nuclear-capable 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.

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.”

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Mike Masr's picture

Fuck McCain isn't this neocon asshole dead yet?

Shemp 4 Victory's picture

This will be framed, again, as the insidious hand of Putin at work.

Looney's picture


Here’s an excerpt from Wikipedia:

In February 2015, following a year of strained relations, Russia announced that it would sever its "joint program with Ukraine to launch Dnepr rockets and was no longer interested in buying Ukrainian Zenit boosters, deepening problems for Ukraine's space program and its struggling Yuzhmash factory."

The firm imposed a two-month unpaid vacation on its workers in January 2015. With the loss of Russian business the only hope for the company was increased international business which seemed unlikely in the time frame available. Bankruptcy seemed certain as of February 2015. As of October 2015, the company was over 4 months late on payroll. The employees worked only once per week, the last space related product were shipped in early 2014. 2014 revenues (in severely depreciated Ukrainian Hrivnas) are 4 times less than 2011.

The Norks didn’t just buy a dozen of rocket engines – they bought the technology, along with equipment and people to train the Koreans.

How did they pay for that? Well, with a few bribes and a lot of coal.

Most of Ukraine’s own coal was mined in the Donbass, one of the two break-away republics.

Even during the conflict, Ukraine kept buying the coal from the Donbass, but last year, the Ukrainian Nazis imposed a blockade, cutting themselves off of the “separatists’ coal”.

THAT was the perfect time for North Korea to barter its coal for the Ukrainian rocket engines/technology.

I’m sure with the new UN sanctions, the Korean coal won’t get into Ukraine anymore, but it is too late now – Little Kim’s got what he wanted, the rocket engines and the know-how.

It looks like Victoria Nuland’s “Fuck the EU” has morphed into “Fuck the US”, with a Korean accent.  ;-)


Whoa Dammit's picture

ROTFL. How's your grand plan working out now Victoria Nukeland?

back to basics's picture

I would call our foreign policy shambolic, if we had one. 

BaBaBouy's picture

Well Well Well... We Need Enemies!

False Flag conspiracy???

caconhma's picture

If these are indeed rocket motors from Ukraine built by DB Yuzhny, then the USA is in deep shit since this Ukraine company also was building the motors for the main Russia ICBM R-36M2 Voevoda (SS-18 Mod 5):

SS-18 Mod 5 version placed in converted silos allowed the SS-18 to remain the bulwark of the SRF’s hard-target-kill capability. The Mod 5 carries 10 MIRV’s and 40 decoys. The Mod 5 warheads have  approximately 750 kt to 1 Mt TNT according to Western estimate. Even one Voevoda missiles hitting the USA will transform it into a 4th world country.

Manthong's picture


Gee… you gave a whole bunch more detail than my simplistic argument

..butt I wonder if  I  could still get a hold of a hot S-200 at a salvage yard


peopledontwanttruth's picture

And to add it travels at

7.9 kilometers / second =
17671.797 miles per hour

Nothing is going to stop it. The US has called it Satan for a reason.

Idaho potato head's picture

How could a great country like the US be transformed into a bannana republic? We are the greatest nation on earth, correct me if I'm wrong.....

Dizzy Malscience's picture


..you might need to go back to Alexander Hamilton and the Whiskey Rebellion to try to figure out how the banker  suppression/intervention scam all came to be.

tmosley's picture

So...will Trump disband the incompetent/traitorous CIA now?

07564111's picture

not even when the other half of this story gets told...it 'very dirty' story because those engines are not all they 'sold'. ;)


FoggyWorld's picture

And we had HRC order Special Prosecutor Mueller of things Russian, deliver a HE sample of uranium from Uranium One.

Those were the days my friend .....


Manthong's picture


We thought they’d never end

……until now.

hongdo's picture

No.  The "17 intel agencies" are not watching nK or Ukraine.  They are watching you. Luckily they are still incompetent.

Manthong's picture


Although continually sarcastic with what the missus bitches about all the time as “inappropriate humor” ……….as a person of faith I just have to believe that the cases take time and that sometime within the next year or so we will see domestic fire and fury, shock and awe in US domestic politics.


...and Vlad might be thinking the same thing.


hongdo's picture

Sometimes black humor is all you got.  But while the country is a pencil balancing on it's point, you still have to decide what you will do depending on how it falls.

Bemused Observer's picture

That's right. All that shit is NOT to 'protect us'...it is to SPY on us...

I seriously hate these fuckers. All I ever wanted was to grow old in peace. Now I have to deal with this crap, at a time when I am old and tired.


Fuck these pieces of human garbage. I hope they all die slowly and painfully. The irony of having that death come through their own machinations would be an especially sweet little 'extra'. But fed feet first into a woodchipper would also be perfectly acceptable.

Yog Soggoth's picture

Will Trump investigate the Clinton non-profts now? There is a lot of ammo he could be using against his opposition besides this.

Giant Meteor's picture

The Clinton Global Grifting Initiative was always deep state sanctioned. I sincerely doubt there would be any serious repercussions as everyone knows the deal is rotten, Old black Joe is still pickin' cotton

Everybody knows

Everybody knows

that's how it goes

Hat tip to Leonard Cohen ..


Iskiab's picture

What foreign policy. The CIA was most definitely watching the factory, to not watch a former nuclear missile factory going through financial trouble would be ludicrous.

I bet they knew but it was kept secret because it wasn't politically advantageous to release the info. Politics interfering with the agency. Now with rising tensions with South Korea they release it to show the pretext for war.

veritas semper vinces's picture

Our foreign policy is called ,as The Son so beautifully named,Yankee Jewdle. And our  military doctrine too

SoilMyselfRotten's picture

We must re-examine our definition of the word shocking. 

nmewn's picture

Almost as shocking as DNC operatives having meetings inside the Ukrainian embassy during the 2016 election.

No reports of RUSSIAN! government lawyers though  ;-)

SoilMyselfRotten's picture

#1 rule of propaganda, be the one who controls the narrative and the flow of information around such narrative.


#2 accuse them of the things you are guilty of before they can affectively accuse you.

land_of_the_few's picture

No doubt, but not sure why they would need to bother apart from being visibly careless, since they prob have more direct connections than the embassy itself has :)

peopledontwanttruth's picture

They know every click and type on our phones, computers, iPads, every text, every phone call, watch us literally through our phones to TVs.

And they didn't know this was going on?

I'm not shocked nor buying it.

All of what we're seeing is planned from the news statements to tweets, to markets, gold and silver manipulation to bitcoin.

We will know when it's not planned and everything goes completely out of control and even the financial elites start turning on one another.

niemand's picture

may i say..perfectly? just 5 billions for a new scapegoat



king leon's picture

If the US want to invade NK because NK will have the technology to strike the US with ICBMs in the near future, then surely Russia can invade Ukraine immediately because Ukraine have supplied NK with advanced missile rocket engine technology that can strike deep into Russia at this very time.  

Buck Johnson's picture

This is going to end badly for the US, real badly.




Joiningupthedots's picture


It has clusterfuck and failure written all over it.

Son of Captain Nemo's picture


Tip of the hat on your post-mortem of the shell game and what definitely happened with this technology transfer.

One thing you can say for the Khazar influenced Western half of this Country, they will do the exact same thing their overlords in the U.S. and U.K. would do (especially after raping it to hell 4 years ago) if anyone denied them their "cheese" when they are told "Do as I say"... "Not do as I DO"!... U.S. AFTER WHAT YOU'VE DONE TO OUR COUNTRY "GO FUCK YOURSELF"!!!

veritas semper vinces's picture

Looney, her tribe has been f..king US for a long time,baby! Haven't you noticed that! It was more covert behavior ,but now it's overt,in your face FU.

Big Creek Rising's picture

Well Fuck Victoria Nuland. And Fuck Samantha Power. A company of Russian soldiers each.

Can't say fuck Hillary, no man could.

Son of Captain Nemo's picture

Or maybe S4, Porko-kike can't hold the ship together anymore and Joe and Hunter Biden had to make a late night trip to Kiev after their special delivery of "medical supplies" that was announced last week?!!!

World Cash Day's picture

Dnipro? The fiefdom of Igor Kolomoisky? The same <<<asshole>>> who arranged the shootdown of MH17?

That <<<asshat>>>?!?!?!

Color me shocked!

It was Dnipro ATC that sent MH17 into the killzone.

Son of Captain Nemo's picture

The installed puppet government is failing miserably (certainly no surprises there)... And the Western half of the Ukraine is increasingly moving it's "orbit" and capital towards Luhansk and Donetsk where the "DPR" Capital lives.

Would not be at all surprised if the Khazar mafia either whacks Porshenko (which will also be blamed on Russia) as a last ditch effort to rally the "Steppan Bandara" crowd just one more time before "punch out" and this is simply the "prelude" to that happening!

What better way for Washington to make more idle threats to the Kiev government for not doing more to get a war started with it's family next door, when Germany and the rest of the EU vassals "stay on the fence"???

FoggyWorld's picture

Think that is the south eastern corner of Ukraine.

Son of Captain Nemo's picture

DPR's capital has had to make many adjustments and pick up stakes on more than a few occasions over the last few years no thanks to Washington and London's "handy-work"

HowdyDoody's picture

Nah, the plot was bigger than that. If you look at the Flight Radar data, the eastward routing of the plane originated as it flew over Poland. The altitude was fine-tuned later to bring it within range of the Su-25 used to shoot it down.

Kolomoisky also worked hard to overturn the entry ban the US had imposed on him. He tried to overturn their stooges running the show in Ukraine and probably made a deal - let me in to the US or I continue. Good luck getting an extradition from the US.



Jeffersonian Liberal's picture

So what this leftist journal is really trying to get us to believe is that Russian and the Ukraine colluded to help North Korea because...


What a bunch of idiots.

MFL5591's picture

Putin again?  My oh my, how does he have the time to ever do anything other that fuck wit the US?  How can he ppossibly be the man in the fishing pictures? Laughable group osf shit at the NYT!

BOPOH's picture

Let me translate it in plain english.

You mean CIA insidious hand.

BrownCoat's picture

Notice how America seems to have a hand in all this stuff? It's America's fault that the Ukraine had a coup. Which caused the factory to fall on hard time and turn to black market crime. Which teleported its product (without any shipping manifest or notice across a large distance). 

I do believe the CIA is conflicted with some people working for Deep State and others working for personal interest and maybe even some for the actual intelligence gathering. I do not believe the CIA is a larger than life conspiracy. Stuff happens.

BrownCoat's picture

About the Ukraine coup...

The coup happened because their was support in the Ukraine regardless of whether or not the CIA or other Western European powers were involved. The coup would have failed without the losing regime's acitive mismanagement, corruption and lack of public support.

Shemp 4 Victory's picture


The coup happened because their was support in the Ukraine regardless of whether or not the CIA or other Western European powers were involved.

Wrong. You can't keep tens of thousands of "demonstrators" on the Maidan square for literally months without big money backing it. Think about the infrastructure requirements just for a city of about 50,000 people. You need food, shelter, sanitation, medical facilities, and some form of income for the residents. Now move that city to to the Maidan square.

The fact is, no large demonstrations anywhere will last more than a few days without logistical and infrastructural support from an external source.

TimmyM's picture

The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.

Vladimir Ilyich Lenin