Expert: North Korea with Kremlin engines

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Russia, against which the United States has recently imposed the new sanctions, decided to undermine the level of trust between official Washington and Kiev in order to prevent the supply of American defensive lethal weapons to Ukraine and to divert the attention of the world community from its aggressive actions. So Moscow tried to reiterate the well-known scenario: to accuse Ukraine of illegal arms shipments, as it was during the Kolchuga scandal” in the early 2000s. The Kremlin even found the second Major Melnichenko, the American expert Michael Elleman, to complete this special operation.

One gets the impression that it was simply boring for Russians to stay in a camp of rogue states with North Korea and Iran, which is why they decided to drag Ukrainians into this “elite club”.
Although, this time the Kremlin failed to conduct a successful special operation to discredit Ukraine, as it was during the time of Kuchma’s presidency. The story of the engines that were intended for North Korea’s missiles ended without even starting. The Ukrainian authorities reacted this time precisely and fulminantly, they could neutralize the threat in time.
It’s obvious the attack, which organized by the Kremlin officials, was doomed to failure: key players refused to follow the instructions; they got out of control of Moscow’s honchos.
Withal, the data obtained show Russia provided engines to the DPRK, which are using for launching intercontinental ballistic missiles that threaten the US national security.

Thus once again the United States has supported Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression – finally it was convinced that Russia is definitely a real threat to the world order.

Unsuccessful performance

Before the 24 hours past, the chief instigator of information disorder, an expert at the American International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) Michael Elleman, said he didn’t believe the Ukrainian company “Yuzhmash” sold the Soviet-designed RD-250 missile engines to North Korea.

“Let me be clear about DPRK’s source of ICBM engine: Yuzhnoye is one of the several possible sources, there are other potentials in Russia. I don’t believe Ukraine government condoned or knew, if the engines were sourced in Ukraine. To the contrary, Ukraine arrested North Koreans in 2012!”, tweeted Michael Elleman.

Elleman’s official position changed as soon as he became aware of his long-standing contacts with representatives of Russia. According to his bio, from 1995 to 2001, he led a Cooperative Threat Reduction program in Russia, aimed a dismantling obsolete long-range missiles.

Apparently, over these six years, Mr. Elleman has fallen in love with Russia.

In this country Michael Elleman found his soul mate – his wife Tatiana. She gave birth to her son and named him Nikita (one of the most popular babies name in Russia).

Well, there would be nothing short of unbelievable if his wife wasn’t photographed wearing military-affiliated clothing, and Mr. Elleman didn’t “advertise” vodka with the outlandish name “Putinka” in the social networks. It’s an odd choice for an American expert, isn’t it?

But then again, let’s talk about North Korean missiles issues.

Michael Elleman acted very cunningly from the beginning: he wrote a report in which he suggested that those missile engines (RD-250), which DPRK leader Kim Jong-un has checked out recently, could be produced at one of four former Soviet plants. It is obvious that the Ukrainian enterprise “Yuzhmash” is one of these four.

In his report Mr. Elleman analyzes very scrupulously the possible involvement of our domestic developer in the “crime of the century” – the sale of spare parts – RD-250 engines – to the DPRK. First he talks about the financial difficulties that the “Yuzhmash” overtook in recent years. This, he said, was the key reason for representatives of the Ukrainian plant, which, according to the expert, organized the so-called illegal sale of military products to the northern territory of the Korean peninsula.

Then Elleman recollected that a few years ago, North Korean spies (who, by the way, were detained and imprisoned) tried to steal the engines from the Ukrainian plant. Actually the American expert repeated the words of Russian propagandists: “Legendary production is slowly but surely dying. The attempts to reanimate the giant plant have not yet led to any noticeable results. If this goes on, there will be no one in Ukraine who will develop missiles which were designed in Dnipro in the past. Well, the disruption of economic and industrial ties with the Russian Federation has completely brought “Yuzhmash” to the gravest crisis”.

Meanwhile Mr. Elleman hinted, but only casually, about the possible involvement of the Russian company “Energomash” in the illegal supply of RD-250 missile engines to the DPRK. He explains till 2014, “Energomash” actively cooperated with the Ukrainian enterprise.

However, the American expert has forgotten to say that many years ago the parts of the RD-250 engine used for the developing SS-18 (“Satan”) missile which was actually designed at the Yuzhmash plant. Furthermore, these missiles were launched on the territory of the Russian Federation. So in the past years the Russian enterprises were actually the ultimate recipients of these engines. After the missile was removed from combat duty, the engine was immediately pulled out, and it remained in warehouses of Russian enterprises.

It is noteworthy that on the same day with the release of Michael Elleman’s report, the influential American newspaper The New York Times, its Singapore department, published a story about the involvement of the Ukrainian Yuzhmash missile plant in the illegal supply of engines to the DPRK. It’s clear that the authors of the media used the Mr. Elleman’s report.

But the author, for unknown reasons, didn’t even use the version about the involvement of the Russian developer in the supply of RD-250 engines to the territory of North Korea, and immediately accused Ukrainian “Yuzhmash” of illegal provocative actions. Well, let’s try to understand all the circumstances.

Obviously, it was Elleman who contacted the representatives of The New York Times to coordinate the output of the material, which had to base on his report. The document itself, of course, was drawn up in such a way that all suspicions fell on Ukraine; it means that it was possible to understand which excerpts from the document the publication would take. Elleman, most likely, could understand what kind of issues this material will pose for Ukraine. He probably considered that Yuzhmash would not sue the influential American media.

We do not want to accuse Mr. Elleman, but it seems strange to us that after the delivery of the “information bomb” to the destination – the US – the American expert immediately decided to pick his words back, thus taking away the blow from himself.

Just some very skillful person was able to launch the clockwork of this “bomb”, but as you know, you can not foresee everything.

The Kremlin supplier

In fact, all this information attack, and there is no doubt that it was a well-planned action, is the Kremlin’s attempt to relieve itself of suspicion and appoint another guilty – Ukraine.
Now, probably only few people will recollect the recent sensational statement of the German rocket engineer Robert Schmucker in an interview with Deutsche Welle. The other day this man said the missiles used by North Korea in the latest test launches were made in Russia and subsequently imported into the DPRK. He acknowledged the engines to North Korean missiles have been coming from Russia.

There is a clear motive: the Russians tried to cover up their illegal supplies, avoided new sanctions for supporting the DPRK missile program and fabricated the case against Ukraine. It turns out that with a slight change in the initial data: replacing the word “Russia” and changing it to “the former Soviet enterprise – the Yuzhmash” you can neutralize the negative consequences.

Although it would be more accurate to say to postpone it.

According to “Hwylya”, in 2015 Russian media reported the world’s most powerful nuclear missile complex, the R-36M, which NATO called “Satan,” is threatened with destruction due after breaking in relations between Russia and Ukraine. The authors of the online media Gazeta.ru said: “The Yuzhnoye Design Bureau and the Yuzhmash plant that produced these kinds of rockets during the Soviet times decided to abandon the author’s technical support for this project. Now the responsibility for the serviceability of the rockets was laid on the State Rocket Center. Makeyev”. Yuzhmash then suggested that the Russian plant could not cope with this task.

The headquarters of the Strategic Missile Forces of the Russian Federation (Strategic Missile Forces) explained “…the original factory life of missiles of this type was exhausted in 2005. Extension of the resource occurs annually. One or two missiles took from the watch, the technical condition of the others is assessed, the special commission decides whether to extend the validity or not. The last time it was done – in midst of 2014. Approximately until the end of 2015, there is a resource, then it will need to be extended. If this is not done, the missile ought to be removed from the watch. But we think it won’t come to this”.

Russia plans to replace R-36M2 missiles with new combat units till 2020. They should be replaced with new type of missiles, and Russia wants to get rid of old units.
And now let’s remind ourselves that in “Satan” rockets got installed all the same RD-250 engines, which turned out to be in North Korea under unclear circumstances. The Russians probably really decided to get rid of the engines from the missiles R-36 because of the inability of the Russian side to carry out routine maintenance. And perhaps, some of these missiles were intended for shooting and to establish their technical condition.

Well, it was important for Moscow to help the DPRK and simultaneously to denigrate Ukraine.

The Ukrainian State Space Agency suggested the Russian side could supply the RD-250 engines, which were previously installed on the Cyclone-2 and Cyclone-3 rockets. Until 2001, these kind of missiles were designed for Russia at the Ukrainian plant “Yuzhmash.” Now, as Acting Head of the State Space Committee Yury Radchenko says, “according to operational information, Russia currently has the Cyclone-2 and Cyclone- the total number of missiles from seven to twenty, there are engines, there are documentation, we are talking about engines which were developed in Ukraine and then delivered to Russia as part of missiles, they are now in arsenals. According to the agency’s estimates, at this very moment Russia has seven to 20 such kinds of missiles, with four engines in every single combat unit. ”

Generally, there are plenty of options, as we see, but there is only one beneficiary – the Russian Federation.

Probably Kremlin officials couldn’t even imagine the crisis they created would turn against them: the Ukrainian defense industry reacted swiftly, and the journalists found out the truth.
However, the most unexpected for Moscow was the rapid announcement of the American expert Michael Ellman with a refutation where he said Ukraine didn’t supply engines to the DPRK. It is obvious that this time suspicion fell on Russia once again.

In all likelihood, the Kremlin officials became to get nervous, realizing they could get under new sanctions. How else we can to explain the real agony of Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who swears that Russia is not involved in these criminal supplies.

“What do you mean” copies of engines “? It’s not a painting or a sculpture. In order to make a “copy”, you must have either the original engine or its detailed drawings. Yes, and without Ukrainian specialists, capable and ready to deploy production on a foreign technological platform, you cannot do it. Anyway, we are talking about smuggling supplies, bypassing all existing international prohibitions” Rogozi tweeted.

Please pardon us, Mr. Dmitry, but we cannot understand, why do you need a “copy” if you have a lot of originals of these engines in your warehouse?

Dangerous games

Many experts compare the current scandal with the “Kolchuga” scandal of the times of Kuchma’s presidency. When the second president wanted to deploy a Ukrainian ship in the direction of the EU and NATO, the Russians started a special operation to discredit our state. The Americans, without providing any evidence, accused us of secret deliveries of technical reconnaissance services Kolchuga to Saddam Hussein. All this coincided with the publication of “Melnychenko tapes.” On one of the tapes Kuchma allegedly agreed to sell to Iraq Kolchuga units, bypassing UN sanctions.
After that there were many other similar stories that were created directly in the Kremlin.

Russia is doing everything possible to discredit and weaken Ukraine. Realizing that it would not be possible to seize Ukraine, the Kremlin began to conduct sabotage and information campaigns against our state. Russian media constantly accuse us of all the deadly sins: theft, default, Nazism, violations of international law, genocide etc.

One of the most favorite directions that Russian propagandists choose for strikes, in this fascinating information battle, is the constant accusations of Ukraine in the illegal supply of weapons to rogue states and to the terrorist organizations.

Sure, Russia doesn’t provide any evidence. For the Kremlin it’s enough to publish an article somewhere abroad in which says that Ukraine illegally supplied weapons, then to fan out on its own television the real hysteria, to oblige different “Churkins” to spread these fake information at the meetings of the International Institutions. They want to put Kiev in a completely stupid position, make Ukrainians to justify themselves, and observe Ukrainian authorities struggling with reputational losses.

Now everything is repeating: the Kremlin is trying to involve Ukraine in another arms scandal, accusing our country of imaginary deliveries of missile engines. This time the main irritant is the DPRK. The Russians have understood long time ago it is necessary to connect Ukraine with those who are threaten US national security, then the likelihood of imposing sanctions against our state becomes higher.

And it would seem that everything was thought through: they picked up an expert connected with Russia, sent untrue information through an influential American publication, gave orders to Ukrainian “fifth column” to scream about imminent sanctions, and backed their words with the media texts. But nothing happened.

And it did not happen for one simple reason: Ukrainians are now constantly expecting an attack from the Kremlin. For them it’s an everyday duty. That is why the Ukrainian defense sector was able to respond quickly and accurately to this blow.

That is why the US State Department, which, as the Russians expected, would urgently raise the issue in the White House and in the Congress, sent only the restrict formal statements, saying that it took information from The New York Times.

“There have been a lot of UN Security Council resolutions, and they obligate all nations, including Ukraine, to prevent transfers of sensitive technology to the DPRK. In the past, I know that Ukraine has prevented the shipments of some sensitive materials to nations that we would be certainly very concerned about. We have a good, solid relationship with Ukraine,” the speaker of the US State Department Heather Nauert said.

Nevertheless, it is too early to say that the situation has calmed down. It’s still on the ground. The Kremlin will not abandon attempts to provoke the United States to introduce some restrictive measures regarding Ukraine – the limitation and termination of military-technical assistance and political support.

Yet the Kremlin, carrying out such special operations, now runs the risk of being under the sanction hammer, because the Americans know very well who is actually supplying weapons to North Korea. And this supplier does not sit in Kiev, he sits in Moscow.

Alex Shulga

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