Ukraine presumed to have helped North Korea with nuclear military technologies
A North Korean nuclear plant, reuters, picture taken June 27, 2008.
North Korea’s success in testing an intercontinental ballistic missile which appears to be able to reach the United States, was made possible by black-market purchases of powerful rocket engines probably from a Ukrainian factory with historical ties to Russia’s missile program, according to a new study by Michael Elleman, a missile expert at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, New York Times reports.
The North Korean launches have met with failure for two years because of the US’ restrictions against suppliers. The missile design and suppliers have since changed. The engine produced in the Ukraine could provide for a successful launch, Michael Elleman claims.
Analysts who studied photographs of the North’s leader, 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.
Most of the factories are in Russia. But, the Ukrainian Yuzhmash in Dnipro, capable of producing SS-18, also came under suspicion.
“It’s likely that these engines came from Ukraine — probably illicitly,” Mr. Elleman said in an interview with the NYT. “The big question is how many they have and whether the Ukrainians are helping them now. I’m very worried.”
The Ukrainian authorities categorically denied the allegations.
“Ukranian factories did not supply arms or technologies to North Korea,” Alexander Turchinov said, the National security council Secretary. “Ukraine considers the North Korean regime totalitarian, dangerous and unpredictable and fully supports sanctions against it, “Hromadske.ua reports.