August 17, 2017 10:50
The 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.
Ukraine was the key production base for missiles in the former Soviet Union.
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