Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

DPRK ICBM Engines – Update


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting. 

It’s nice to be credited with exposing this scandal, but the truth is the experts explained the details to me in very simple terms. All I did was recognize this as a Russian active measures operation and a national-level Kompromat attempt.

While I’m on the subject, once again Russia failed to put together a quality Kompromat operation. A little scrutiny tore this whole thing apart. The end result is Russia is being exposed for doing this, there is public recognition of Russia’s lack of quality, all this while exposing another Russian criminal operation and supplying the DPRK with highly illegal products and/or data.

Whoever planned, whoever approved, and whoever put this operation together needs to retire. Immediately.

This has turned into a lose-lose situation for Russia.

[Sidenote to the Russians: dudes, if you’re sitting around the table, smoking and drinking vodka, planning these little operations and somebody says ‘wait, wait, I got it!’.  Don’t. You’re repeatedly looking like a bunch of drunken college kids.]

</end editorial>



This controversy appears to be gathering momentum, and it is not all bad for Ukraine – as Poroshenko notes it advertises the capability of Ukraine’s space-launch industry globally, also Asian media are not buying the NYT line, and mostly argue the Ukrainian position, while US MSM continue to publish the NYT falsehood rather than the Ukrainian rebuttal.

Harding has an excellent summary pointing out discrepancies in the IISS analysis – the DPRK ICBM engine package looks a lot like the early R-36 / SS-9 SCARP rather than later R-36M/M1/M2 / SS-18 SATAN engine. Portnikov hits on some very good points about blind regurgitation.

Rogozin blames Ukraine, and Russian MSM propagating claims that multiple teams of Yuzhmash engineers travelled to the DPRK, indicating a well planned story at the Russian end, and further reinforcing the very high likelihood this was a Russian active measures effort to blameshift away from Russia and implicate Ukraine instead.

Poroshenko launches a major inquiry to determine exactly who produced the false claim that Elleman regurgitated, and invites the NYT story authors to visit Yuzhmash and become educated.

It will be interesting to see what happens once the dust settles and Russia is determined, by elimination of all other possibilities, to have been the source of the DPRK ICBM engine technology.

Will we see another MH17 style tirade of bizarre theories to explain how Ukrainian agents stole the engines from Russian warehouses and smuggled then into the DPRK?

More Evidence That Russia Supplied DPRK Rocket Engines And/Or Data – To Inform is to Influence

The ongoing saga of the North Korean ICBM rocket engines. Again, Yuzhnoye is the Ukrainian rocket engine designer. Yuzhnoye made an interesting comment, that the DPRK engine is “open cycle”, where the turbopump efflux gas is vented. In this case, it could be via the four vernier steering nozzles. They argue that Ukrainian engines are “closed cycle”,…

UAWire – Kyiv: Russia could have removed Ukrainian engines from Cyclone rockets and sent them to North Korea

There are between 7 and 20 Cyclone-2 and Cyclone-3 rockets with Ukrainian RD-250 engines in Russia, and it is likely that these are the engines that Ukraine is accused of supplying to North Korea, stated the Chairman of the State Space Agency, Yuri Radchenko. “According to operational information, Russia currently has between 7 and 20 Cyclone-2 and Cyclone-3 missiles, which have these engines (RD-250). There is documentation,” he said. According to him, these engines were previously manufactured in Ukraine and delivered to the Russian Federation as part of missiles in accordance with the Russian space program. At the same time, the head of the State Space Agency noted that Ukraine now has no way to produce and supply such engines. Radchenko did not rule out the possibility that the engines in North Korea could have come from Russia. “Among manufactured products, they [the Russians] can supply these engines to anyone. This possibility has not been discounted, given the relationship between Russia and North Korea,” he stressed. On August 14, the website of the American daily newspaper The New York Times published an article entitled “North Korea’s Missile Success Is Linked to Ukrainian Plant, Investigators Say”. The article, citing as a source a study by Michael Elleman from the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), said that North Korea’s recent successes in testing an intercontinental ballistic missile “were made possible through the purchase of powerful missile engines on the black market, probably from the Ukrainian plant, which has historical links to the Russian missile program.”

North Korean missiles and Ukraine -Euromaidan Press |

Vitaly Portnikov In the entire saga of “Ukrainian engines” for North Korean missiles, what deserves the most attention is not the article’s publication in the United States, but the reaction to its publication on the part of Ukrainians. There are practically no specifics in the article — one assumption leads to another. Perhaps the North Korean engines are based on Soviet engines. Perhaps these engines were obtained or stolen — it could be in Ukraine or Russia, we do not know. Perhaps they were stolen in Ukraine because poor people live in this country and they can be bribed easily. Perhaps the warehouse manager was given money, who then removed the necessary engines. Or perhaps an employee of the Yuzhnoye State Design Office did it. Perhaps this did not happen in Ukraine but in Russia. Or perhaps it did not happen at all. This is because the investigation itself is based on the theory that North Korean scientists could not have created the necessary technologies in such a short time. But this is an assumption that is based solely on the author’s ideas of the level of development in authoritarian countries like the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). However, based on our own experience, we know that in such countries money is spared for everything except the military-industrial complex. In the Soviet Union, technology was not only stolen but also created. And this was despite the fact that the development of ordinary household appliances was a problem. The DPRK is a copy of the Soviet Union during the Stalin era. At the same time, it is impossible to exclude not only the theft of technology but also the theft of brains. I am convinced that former Soviet or Chinese experts could have helped Pyongyang. Or perhaps this was not even theft but a conscious decision by Moscow or Beijing. Why not? But this, too, is an abstract assumption. Michael Elleman, the author of the investigative report states that Ukraine can “justify itself” and carry out an investigation. But the first investigation that must be carried out is to determine how Mr. Elleman himself reached his conclusions about the Ukrainian trail. The researcher speaks about “two sources” who often visit Ukraine, but he does not want to name these people. My guess is that he has simply invented these sources, as often happens in such cases. And if he has not invented them, then the first thing we need to know are the matters that Michael Elleman does not wish to discuss. First of all, we need to know the names of his American informants. Afterwards, the US and Ukrainian intelligence services will not have too much difficulty finding out the circle of contacts of these people and their level of awareness and realism. It would also be good to know how extensively the trips to Ukraine did or did not coincide with trips to Russia. And only based on the results of this investigation will it be possible to decide if there is a reason for a real investigation of the Ukrainian trail. Because what is at the core of the data published in the US may be not a conspiracy but simple stupidity. Yes, stupidity — what is so unusual about it? Naturally, the conspiracy theory is more pleasant — both for us and for the government. Supposedly all this was launched deliberately to deprive Ukraine of the possibility of obtaining lethal weapons. And it was launched precisely at a time when there are lively discussions about it. And it was launched on the pages of the New York Times, this mouthpiece of the Democrats, who have always opposed giving lethal weapons to Ukraine. And, in general, Moscow is behind it. Good, if all that were true, it would mean that Ukraine is at the center stage of US politics. But, unfortunately, for the conventional American — and a researcher or journalist can be conventional as well — the Koreans, Russians, and Ukrainians are ordinary savages. Do Ukrainians understand the intricacies of the relations between the Hutu and the Tutsi in Rwanda or Burundi? Do they consider it important to find out who is really right and who is to blame? Don’t they think that the one who is beaten also lives in the past century? It is the same with us. It is understood that there are “good guys” who support Ukrainians. And then there are “bad guys” who are against us — the Russians and the DPRK government. But all of them are running around in mammoth hides. Therefore, it is not difficult to assume that if one of them were offered a new mammoth hide, he would exchange it for a rocket engine. And it is up to him prove that he did not need this hide. This, I repeat, is not a problem. I encounter this type of thinking every day. And I am glad that now it is rarely voiced at a higher level by the US president, to avoid unnecessary illusions. The problem is that many of my compatriots really are acting like savages. They are ready to believe any lie about their own country, just as long as this nonsense corresponds to their notions about Ukraine. They demonstrate even greater readiness when this nonsense touches upon the interests of the government, although the article does not mention any terms for DPRK’s receipt of the supposedly Ukrainian engines (after all, time was needed to modify them). These people are unable or do not want to understand that the interests of the government, the interests of the state, and the interests of the citizens coincide when it comes to strengthening the defense capability of the country and its reputation. And these people are much more dangerous than any unscrupulous researcher or diligent provocateur. If you do not want to be perceived as a savage parading around in a mammoth hide, then do not wear the mammoth hide. Change your attire.

Rogozin: Ukraine Could Have Sold Missile Engines Directly to North Korea – Sputnik International

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said on Wednesday it is possible that either details about Ukrainian missile engine technologies were leaked to North Korea or Kiev sold the engines to Pyongyang directly.

N.Korean Missile Engines Supplied by Russia – The Chosun Ilbo (English Edition): Daily News from Korea – North Korea

N.Korean Missile Engines Supplied by RussiaThe government of Ukraine on Tuesday confirmed a U.S. media report that the engine of North Korea’s Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile was Ukrainian in origin and apparently supplied to the North by Russia. But Ukraine claimed it merely built the engine and blamed Russia for letting it fall into North Korean hands. Earlier, the New York Times quoted Michael Elleman from the International Institute for Strategic Studies as saying, “It’s likely that these engines came from Ukraine — probably illicitly.” Elleman added, “The big question is how many they have and whether the Ukrainians are helping them now.” According to Radio Free Asia, Yuriy Radchenko of the State Space Agency of Ukraine told reporters in Kiev on Tuesday that the engine was the same as the RD-250 manufactured at Ukraine’s state-owned Yuzhmash plant until 2001. Radchenko added that 223 of the engines were made and all were supplied for Russia’s space rockets. He denied that Ukraine sold them to North Korea and added Russia still owns the engines and blueprints. Russia denied the allegations and claimed that six to 10 engineers from Yuzhmash went to North Korea from March 30 to June 1 of last year and 12 to 16 others made the same trip a few years ago. Former Russian deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin said on Facebook that any attempt at reproducing the engines requires the help of Ukrainian experts, who have detailed blueprints and production knowhow. He claimed the engines may have been smuggled into the North.

Did Russia supply Ukrainian rocket engine to North Korea? | Asia Times

The mystery over how North Korea obtained powerful rocket engines for its last ICBM test deepened Wednesdayafter Ukraine’s state space agency said the rocket engine used is the same as the type of engine used by Ukraine-made space vehicles, according to UPI. UPI was picking up on a report from US government-funded Radio Free Asia which said Ukraine denied supplying the engines to North Korea, raising the possibility Russia might have played a middleman role in delivering the power engines to Pyongyang. Michael Elleman, a missile expert at the US-based International Institute for Strategic Studies said in a report released earlier this week that data from the North Korean launch suggests that the engines probably came from a Ukrainian factory with historical ties to Russia’s missile program. The New York Times, citing US investigators, says there’s evidence the engines were purchased on the black market. Ukraine and Russia have been in a state of heightened military confrontation following Russia’s annexation of Crimea. The US government is backing Ukraine in the conflict.

Report: Russian Rocket Engines Drive North Korean Missile Advances – Breitbart

A new report pinpoints Russian liquid-fueled rocket engines as the key to North Korea’s amazing swift development of ICBMs.

Russian Rocket Engines May Have Fueled North Korea’s Nuclear Ambitions – ExtremeTech

North Korea’s missile capabilities have grown tremendously in recent years. Analysis of their rocket designs suggests they may be using …

Ukraine Scrambles to Quash Fallout From North Korea Allegations

Author of report walks back on finger-pointing to Ukraine, says Russia could have been source, while others say Pyongyang’s engines are homemade

Poroshenko invites authors of NYT article on DPRK’s missile engines to Ukraine | KyivPost

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has ordered to invite the authors of the New York Times article about missile engine deliveries from Ukraine to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). “I ordered to invite the authors of the article to visit Ukraine to meet with Ukrainian partners who have unfairly fallen under baseless suspicions. This would be the right step on the part of the respectable publication that treats the trust of its readership responsibly,” Poroshenko wrote on Facebook on August 16. The article has attracted global attention to the potential of Ukraine’s rocket-space industry, he said. “An elegant, though not the most optimal way,” Poroshenko said.

Poroshenko Orders Probe Into North Korea Missile Claims

Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko says he has ordered an &quot;urgent, thorough, and full investigation&quot; into a media report alleging that North Korea may have purchased rocket engine…

Ukraine to probe into alleged rocket engine supplies to North Korea – LB.ua news portal

Ukraine to probe into alleged rocket engine supplies to North Korea. The president expects the probe to lead to those who ordered the “fake”. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

Ukraine president orders probe into ‘groundless’ alleged links to North Korea missiles

Ukrainian President Poroshenko on Wednesday ordered a “thorough and comprehensive investigation” into the findings of a New York Times article that North Korea may have purchased rocket engines from Ukrainian factory Yuzhmas.

Poroshenko orders inquiry into info about missile engine supplies to DPRK | KyivPost

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has ordered an inquiry into the information published in The New York Times regarding missile engine supplies from Ukraine to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). “I ordered an urgent, thorough and full investigation of the situation to be conducted under chairmanship of the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, and with participation of the inter-agency commission for military-technical cooperation policy and export control, as well as Pivdenmash (Yuzhmash) state enterprise and Pivdenne design bureau, and to report the results within three days,” Poroshenko wrote on Facebook on August 16.

Poroshenko responds to reports on Ukraine’s alleged involvement in DPRK’s missile success

Following reports hinting at a Ukrainian trace in deliveries of missile engines to North Korea, President Petro Poroshenko instructed the authorities to launch immediately a thorough and comprehensive investigation, according to a posting on the president&rsquo;s Facebook page. News 16 August from UNIAN.

Ukraine to probe claim it supplied NKorea missile engine

Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko on Wednesdayordered an investigation into a report that North Korea procured an engine for its long-range missile from a Ukraine factory.

Ukraine Blasts NY Times Over North Korea Missile Link – Transitions Online

U.S. expert suggests disgruntled Ukrainian workers could have sent rocket engines to Pyongyang.

Ukraine’s Yuzhnoye furious over “false” opinions on country’s missile ties with N.Korea, calls allegations “ludicrous”

Categorically refuting the allegations reported by The New York Times and the IISS claiming that North Korea&rsquo;s ICBM successes were due to Ukraine&rsquo;s involvement, Dnipro-based Yuzhnoye Design Office in a harsh statement, the copy of which was posted on Twitter by an RFE/RL correspondent Christopher Miller, said publishing such &quot;highly speculative material&quot; is &quot;unprofessional and inflammatory.&quot; News 16 August from UNIAN.

Missile engine built in Ukraine

Pyongyang can make missile engines without imports, says US intel.

North Korea’s Powerful New Missile Tech May Have Been Smuggled From Ukraine | Gizmodo Australia

In the last few months, North Korea’s ability to launch a warhead beyond its backyard has improved exponentially. Its rapid development of…

Ukrainian missile plant director duped by call from Russian pranksters | KyivPost

To get first-hand information on the affairs of Ukraine’s scandal-hit rocket plant Pivdenmash, it appears that all one has to do is call up its director and pretend to be the head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, Oleksandr Turchynov. That’s what pro-Kremlin Russian pranksters Vladimir “Vovan” Kuznetsov and Alexei “Lexus” Stolyarov did, and the two posted a recording of the call on the video-sharing site YouTube on Aug. 16. Kuznetsov, pretending to be Turchynov, but speaking in Russian and not even attempting to put on a Ukrainian accent in Russian, called up Sergii Voyt, the CEO of Pivdenmash (often referred to by its name in Russian, Yuzhmash) and put several questions to the plant manager.

North Korea’s New High-Performance Missile Engines Likely Weren’t Made in Russia or Ukraine | The Diplomat

However, U.S. intelligence has a good idea of the kind of engine North Korea is using in its new long-range missiles.

Yuzhmash Dnepr ELV

The Dnepr LV is intended for timely high-accurate injection of a single spacecraft (SC) or a group of various SCs with total mass of up to 3.7 t into the near-Earth orbits of 300-900 km altitude and 50.5°, 64.5°, 87.3°and 98° inclination. It is created on the basis of the most powerful in the world ICBM RS-20 (SS-18 Satana) having high power capability and reliability confirmed by 160 launches (including 8 launches under the Dnepr program). The design scheme of RS-20 missile and invariance of the control system have allowed creation on its basis of the high-effective launch vehicle that meets the current requirements for the SC injection means.

Why NYT Story on Ukraine’s Black Market North Korea Deals Is Flawed – YouTube

This week Ukrainian factory Yuzhmash found itself in the midst of a media storm after an article in the New York Times claimed the state-owned enterprise pro…

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4 thoughts on “DPRK ICBM Engines – Update

  1. OK – stop me if you heard this one….
    We send over Dennis Rodman and tell KJU that we’re doing a new Hollywood reality TV show called “Keeping up with the Kim’s”…. It’ll be the newest hottest thing around!! He’ll be a star! Internationally famous! – oh wait, wait, wait….. nevermind.

  2. Definitely apparent Active Measures that Ukraine was dragged into this suspicion. Not strategically viable for Ukraine but it is for Russia, and that is what makes it obvious in a way. But beyond that here’s a little reading list that has made the collusion apparent for years:

    http://www.deseretnews.com/article/816819/Putin-to-visit-N-Korea.html
    Putin to visit N. Korea
    Russian chief doesn’t see Pyongyang as a threat to security
    Associated Press
    Published: June 9, 2000 12:00 a.m.
    Updated: June 9, 2000 11:12 a.m.

    MOSCOW — President Vladimir Putin does not view North Korea as a “rogue nation” threatening world security and will not seek to persuade Pyongyang to abandon its missile program during upcoming talks, a top official said today.

    The Kremlin announced today that Putin would visit North Korea this summer but did not give specific dates. The announcement of the trip, the first-ever such visit by a Russian leader, came just days after Putin, at a Moscow summit with President Clinton, rebuffed U.S. plans for a national missile defense system.

    http://www.aparchive.com/metadata/NORTH-KOREA-PUTIN-MAKES-FIRST-RUSSIAN-VISIT-UPDATE/1cdf04415f99d2e5e91b0772e12d30df?searchfilter=Compilations%2Fpeople%2FNORTH+KOREA%3A+PUTIN+MAKES+FIRST+RUSSIAN+VISIT+UPDATE%2F19617
    NORTH KOREA: PUTIN MAKES FIRST RUSSIAN VISIT UPDATE
    Date: 07/19/2000 12:00 AM

    President Vladimir Putin began an historic two-day visit to North Korea on Wednesday – the first Russian or Soviet leader to do so.

    After meeting with President Kim Jong-Il, Putin emerged to endorse a new North Korean initiative – a deal to eradicate the North Korean missile program in return for international aid for space research.

    But the international community remained sceptical, seeing the statement as a continuation of Putin’s focus on derailing the proposed U-S anti-missile shield.

    http://thediplomat.com/2014/11/the-renaissance-in-russia-north-korea-relations/

    The Renaissance in Russia-North Korea Relations
    Moscow and Pyongyang talk economics and nuclear issues during Choe Ryong-hae’s visit to Russia.
    By Shannon Tiezzi
    November 22, 2014

    A Russian Foreign Ministry source told Interfax that progress on denuclearizing the Korean peninsula “is a mandatory condition of lifting the sanctions against the country which naturally impose big limits on our bilateral relations.”

    Unfortunately for Pyongyang, the U.S. is not likely to enter into renewed talks “without any preconditions” – the Obama administration has consistently called for Pyongyang to live up to its previous commitments before talks can resume.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/russia-wants-military-drills-with-north-korea-2015-2
    Russia has announced plans for joint military drills with North Korea
    Jeremy Bender
    Feb. 3, 2015, 12:44 PM 20,347

    A top Russian military official has stated that Moscow plans on conducting joint military exercises with North Korea, a number of media outlets have reported.

    “We are planning an expansion of the communication lines of our military central command,” Valery Gerasimov, the chief of staff of the Russian armed forces, said at a meeting attended by the heads of all of Russia’s armed forces branches, according to Newsweek. “We are entering preliminary negotiations with the armed forces of Brazil, Vietnam, Cuba and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/doug-bandow/russia-and-north-korea-pl_b_6934976.html
    Russia and North Korea Play Nice: Vladimir Putin’s Ukrainian Dance With Kim Jong-un
    By Doug Bandow

    Russia and North Korea make up the latest international odd couple. President Vladimir Putin reached out to one of the poorest and least predictable states on earth. So far the new Moscow-Pyongyang axis matters little. But Russia demonstrated that it can make Washington pay for confronting Moscow over Ukraine.

  3. Conspiracy wheels turning – what if Russia had anything to do with Kim Jong Un coming to power? Jong Il made an unusual visit to Russia just a couple of months before his death. Now in just the past couple of years, seems the strategy has accelerated, and there is closer cooperation between NK and Russia than ever before. Maybe they had plans for deeper cooperation in the post Jong-Il era. Pure speculation. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/northkorea/8717436/Kim-Jong-Il-and-his-bullet-proof-train-annoy-locals-on-rare-Siberia-visit.html

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