The rocket engines produced in Ukraine, which allowed Pyongyang to make spectacular progress on its missile program, were delivered exclusively to Russia, the Ukrainian space agency said on Tuesday.
Moscow, on the other hand, rejected the responsibility on Kiev, saying that the necessary changes would not have been possible without “Ukrainian specialists”.
According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), a British reflection center, the missiles used in the last North Korean tests were equipped with engines built on the basis of the RD-250, which was built by the Soviet Ukrainian factory of Yuzhmach.
These engines, assembled until 2001, were sold to Russia for its cyclone-2 and Cyclone-3 “rockets,” Yuri Radchenko, director of the Ukrainian space agency, told reporters.
“According to the information we have, Russia currently has seven to twenty rockets of this type,” he added. “They were able to deliver a part of it to whomever they wanted,” he added.
In two years, North Korea has successfully aligned a new type of intermediate-range missile, the Hwasong-12, and its big brother, the Hwasong-14, an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
According to the IISS, Pyongyang has had to procure “a high performance liquid fuel engine from a foreign source” in order to make this transition in such a short period of time. The British think tank says North Korean engineers do not have the know-how to modify the RD-250, which could only be adapted in Ukrainian or Russian factories.
“In order to use these engines and this rocket, it is essential to have access to rocket fuel technologies. North Korea does not have such technologies, but two countries have it: Russia and China,” Radtchenko said.
These engines are “neither paintings nor sculptures.” To make a copy, it is necessary to have either the original or detailed plans,” assured the Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Rogozin on Facebook.
“It is impossible without Ukrainian specialists, capable and ready to develop a production on a foreign platform.” In one way or another, it is about smuggling deliveries in order to bypass all the strict international prohibitions in force,” he added.