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

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.”

Comments

Looney Shemp 4 Victory Mon, 08/14/2017 - 08:30 Permalink

  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.  ;-) Looney

In reply to by Shemp 4 Victory

caconhma sickavme (not verified) Mon, 08/14/2017 - 10:57 Permalink

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.

In reply to by sickavme (not verified)

Dizzy Malscience Idaho potato head Mon, 08/14/2017 - 17:45 Permalink

 
/* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";
mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
mso-style-noshow:yes;
mso-style-priority:99;
mso-style-parent:"";
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
mso-para-margin-top:0in;
mso-para-margin-right:0in;
mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt;
mso-para-margin-left:0in;
line-height:115%;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:11.0pt;
font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif";
mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;
mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;
mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";
mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;}
..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.

In reply to by Idaho potato head

Manthong FoggyWorld Mon, 08/14/2017 - 11:42 Permalink

 
/* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";
mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
mso-style-noshow:yes;
mso-style-priority:99;
mso-style-parent:"";
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
mso-para-margin-top:0in;
mso-para-margin-right:0in;
mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt;
mso-para-margin-left:0in;
line-height:115%;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:11.0pt;
font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif";
mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;
mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;
mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";
mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;}
We thought they’d never end ……until now.

In reply to by FoggyWorld

Manthong hongdo Mon, 08/14/2017 - 11:51 Permalink

  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. 

In reply to by hongdo

Bemused Observer hongdo Mon, 08/14/2017 - 20:10 Permalink

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.

In reply to by hongdo

Iskiab back to basics Mon, 08/14/2017 - 12:56 Permalink

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.

In reply to by back to basics

peopledontwanttruth Whoa Dammit Mon, 08/14/2017 - 09:54 Permalink

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.

In reply to by Whoa Dammit

Son of Captain Nemo Looney Mon, 08/14/2017 - 13:39 Permalink

Loon

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"!!!

In reply to by Looney

Son of Captain Nemo World Cash Day Mon, 08/14/2017 - 09:32 Permalink

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"???

In reply to by World Cash Day

HowdyDoody World Cash Day Mon, 08/14/2017 - 09:38 Permalink

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.  

In reply to by World Cash Day

BrownCoat BOPOH Mon, 08/14/2017 - 13:28 Permalink

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.

In reply to by BOPOH

Shemp 4 Victory BrownCoat Mon, 08/14/2017 - 17:56 Permalink

 

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.

In reply to by BrownCoat