Once again Russia is trying to inflict an information defeat on Ukraine. This time the Kremlin specialists tried to fuel speculations about Ukrainian engines, which are used for constructing of North-Korean ballistic missiles. Yes, those missiles that threaten the national security of the United States and the whole Pacific Region. In general, Moscow really wants to denigrate Ukraine in the eyes of the United States against the backdrop of a possible decision to provide Ukraine with lethal weapons to deter Russian aggression in Donbass.
At the same time, there is enough evidence that Russia itself secretly supplies weapon and technologies to the DPRK, including spare parts for intercontinental ballistic missiles, for which Pyongyang is paying the price, in particular provides «certain services for Lavrov in any required moment». It includes certain actions at the international arena or human commodity, which means free manpower for the construction of various facilities at the territory of Russian Federation, especially for the World Cup 2018.
In addition, Russians began to conduct another information campaign, the goal of which is to undermine the credibility of Ukraine from the side of the United States. Big amount of experts have already called it a repetition of the «Kolchuha scandal» of Leonid Kuchma’s presidency.
It is to be recalled that right after president Leonid Kuchma declared a course of rapprochement with the European Union and NATO, the world community instantly received a great amount of unsubstantiated accusations of secret supplies of technical reconnaissance stations «Kolchuha» to Sadam Hussein by Kyiv especially after the publication of «Melnichenko records». In one of these records, President Kuchma allegedly agreed to sell «Kolchuha» stations bypassing UN sanctions in a conversation with Valery Malev, the head of state company «Ukrspetseksport» (who later died in a car accident).
From the very beginning official Kiev rejected all accusations by the US, but the West declared that they allegedly did not receive convincing evidence that the «Kolchuha» stations were not sent to Iraq. Americans, who were preparing at the same time the military operation in Iraq, were under the thumb of Russian propaganda machine. Just in case, they placed Leonid Kuchma in an atmosphere of isolation and announced about the freezing of program of financial support to Ukraine. Fortunately for Russia during that time they had «honeymoon» with the US in Afghanistan after the events of 11 September 2001, which Putin still wants to reestablish.
Then, having reached its goal, Moscow made a control shot raising the question of the Crimean peninsula belonging to Ukraine, instigating the likeness of a territorial conflict in the area of the Tuzla spit, thereby discouraging Kuchma from continuing to take any serious measures towards Euro-Atlantic integration, except signing of framework documents and making of oral statements for the internal electorate.
«Kolchuha» stations were not found in Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein regime, but, as people say, this left us with unpleasant aftertaste.
Back to today’s business. Yesterday the Singapore editorial office of the influential American edition «The New York Times» (and this, by the way, already raises certain questions), published quite manipulative article, in which, might be said, Ukraine is openly accused of supplying North Korea with spare parts for intercontinental missiles. The Russian media immediately took out of context and spread exactly what they needed.
The analyst of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Michael Ellman published photographs of Kim Jong Un, the leader of the DPRK, examining rocket engines. Michael Ellman made the conclusion that photo describes RD-250 engines of Soviet R-36 heavy ICBM ( SS-9 according to NATO classification). The photo clearly shows the attribute nozzle of RD-250 main engine and four swinging steering engines, completely repeating the scheme of P-36, the construction of which was carried out only at several plants of former USSR. But, for some reason, the author of this report immediately turned his attention only to Ukrainian plant «Yuzhmash» (in Dnipro city).
Ellman in his analysis suggested that representatives of the Ukrainian enterprise, which endures very hard times, sold engines to DPRK government for North-Corean missiles.
«Probably these engines came from Ukraine, probably they were obtained illegally. The main question is, how many engines do the DPRK have and whether Ukrainians are supporting it now. I’m very concerned», Ellman suggested.
Moreover, in the context of Ellman’s statements, it should be emphasized that the mantra about «hard times» for «Yuzhmash» is spread with unfailing regularity by Russian propaganda as well as through the media with Ukrainian registration, for example RIA Ukraine: «Legendary production slowly, but truly dies. The attempts to reanimate the giant plant have not yet led to any noticeable results. If this continues, there will be no enterprises in Ukraine which will produce missiles, constructing immediately in Dnipro. The disruption of economic and industrial ties with the Russian Federation, in its turn, has completely brought «Yuzhmash» to the gravest crisis».
But, apparently, Mr. Ellman has no clue that Ukrainian company “Yuzhmash” has to produce, and later, to deliver main constructions for the first stage launcher of middle class “Antares” to the American company “Orbital ATK”. Such test launches, by the way, are coming in the interests, once again, of American governmental “NASA” agency.
This launch vehicle provides a cargo delivery to the International Space Station (ISS). Now is known that the US governmental agencies have coordinated with Ukrainian company “Yuzhmash” a further participation in the project, to at least 2024.
Also expert Ellman forgot to mention, that “Yuzhmash” continues to negotiate with Americans for replacement of Russian engines RD-180, designed to “Atlas” rockets, with Ukrainian analogue.
Well, “Yuzhmash”’ leadership already has had time to deny the statements, spoken by Michael Ellman in “The New York Times”.
“Rockets and guided missile system weren’t or aren’t being produced by “Yuzhmash” during the years of independence. A single serial engine, exported last years (RD-843 to Italy for European launcher vehicle “Vega”), designated to launching and working under open-space conditions, and due to its features (including the propulsive effort) is not suitable for use in the military ballistic missiles” – mentioned in a statement.
This is, incidentally, the same Ukrainian-made RD-843 engine that lets American company “Google” to launch a few satellites.
Really, it was more profitable for the Ukrainians developers to jeopardize signed multibillion contracts with American corporation, in favor of engine delivery to the DRPK. I’m sorry for being sarcastic.
However why didn’t Mr. Ellman wonder about it? Maybe we should seek the answer in his biography, where expressly specified that he had directed a joint programme on threat reduction, aimed to dismantle an obsolete long-range ballistic missile, from 1995 to 2005 in Russia.
Probably, and that’s the word that Mr. Ellman likes to use, he has a tremendous experience with Russian defence companies’ representatives and not only with them. Probably.
However, in the report, an American expert points to a notable detail – a possible involvement of Russians in the delivery of RD-250 engines to North Korea.
So, Ellman informed, that typical engine could be supplied from Russian company “Energomash” (Khimki city), which up to 2014, actively cooperated with “Yuzhmash”. Expert also highlighted, that such Ukrainian engines may still be stored at the Russian stockpiles. And this conclusions sound too plausible, taking into account, how many weapons and components Russia has sold to the DRPK for the last few years.
Russian weapons on North Korean shelves.
Nowadays, Russia, despite of sanctions imposed, is the major importer of fuel on the territory of DRPK. The issue is that Russian fuel helps to North Korean companies not only to produce synthetic products, for instance, but to refuel a tanks of Soviet-made MiG-29 fighter aircrafts.
Wondering, that in 2015 the DRPK authorities requested the Kremlin to supply them a few Su-35 fighter aircrafts. It is still unknown, how the negotiations ended. We should not forget, that the inhabitants on the Southern part of Korean peninsula have learned quickly how to change a design of imported military products.
Also wondering, that in the last February the South Korean special services found out that the DRPK launches rockets, and Russia definitely assist them in it.
So, the South Korean member of parliament Lee Cheol Woo claimed, that Russian Federation supplied to the DRPK a key components for vehicle launcher developing, launched the 7 of February. At the exact day, North Korean authorities informed about successful launching of ballistic missile with satellite, which carried telecommunication Earth Observation System.
Later, official Washington declared that launching of the satellite is just a disguise and, in fact, the official Pyongyang conducts tests of strategic missiles launching with nuclear charges. As US specialists say, similar technologies are used for launching of satellites and ballistic missiles.
From bad to worse. During the parade in April 2017 in Pyongyang «a miracle of scientific thought», specifically the tank «Chonma 216» was demonstrated. Antitank guided missiles Bulsae-3 and MANPADS HT-16PGJ were installed on the tower of this tank. The only problem is that this tank is the clone of the Soviet T-62 machine. It is known that Russia completely abandoned these tanks in 2011 and proceeded to the process of writing them off. This means the following: Russians needed to misplace all this old, but, by the way, effective equipment. One of the points of acceptance was probably North Korea.
There is the most interesting item: the «Pongae-5» (KN-06) poratble antiaircraft weapon system, which is very similar to the Russian S-300 (NATO reporting name SA-10 Grumble) air defense missile system. It is curiously that the main KN-06 components are set on the KAMaz six-wheeler trucks manifactured by Russia. Yes, that are those KAMaz trucks which form so-called «humanitarian convoys» permanently crossing the border between Russia and Ukraine without either Ukrainian authorities or international organization permission. Besides, it is also known that the KAMaz block of stock via «Avtoinvest Limited» offshore company is possessed by the Russian president’s friend, celloist, Sergey Roldigin, who is already under sanctions. It is bad that the KAMaz enterprise is not enlisted into the saction package.
Besides, we should notice that in 2015, on the «Gazeta.RU» newspapers pages there was an aricle titled «Driving out of «Satan»», where it was mentionned as follows: «The most powerful nuclear SS-18 Mod. missile system which is called by NATO as Satan, is endangered because of breaking relations between Russia and Ukraine. The Ukrainian design bureau «Yuzhnoye» and «Yuzhmash» factory, where it was produced during the Soviet era, have refused from authorial and technical project assistance. Nowadays the responsability for missiles serviceability status is appointed to the Makeyev State missile center.
In turn, the representatives of the Yuzhmash management, which produced Satan before 1991, conducting an annual extension of the resource until 2014, expressed their doubt that the «Makeyevs» would cope with the task.
At the same time, at the headquarters of the Strategic Missile Force «Gazeta.ru» explained that Meanwhile, the Russian Strategic Missile Forces Staff has explained for «Gazeta.Ru», the SA-18 continues to stand on alert, but noted that before the end of the year its resource will expire. If it is not renewed, the missiles will be expelled from the combat duty.
«The initial factory resource of the last missiles of this type is expired in 2005, after which the extension of the resource occurs annually. One or two missiles are fired, 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 mid-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 should be removed from the combat duty. But we think, it will not lead to this», the representative of the Strategic Missile Forces has explained.
In its turn, Victor Murakhovsky, a member of the board expert council of the Military-Industrial Commission for the Russian government, drew the attention of the «Gazeta.Ru» to the fact that until 2020 the SS-18 Mod.2 missiles should be replaced with new types of missiles, and Alexei Arbatov, academician, explained that The SS-18 heavy missile complex is a legacy of the Cold War and it is high time to get rid of it because of its high vulnerability.
Therefore, it is quite logical that the North Korean demonstration for television cameras is the same miracle of the North Korean defense industry as the «Chonma 216» tank or the «Pongae-5» anti-aircraft missile system , namely, nothing else than engines from Russian SS-18 missiles, which have already been expelled from duty due to the inability of the Russian side to conduct independent maintenance or that are intended for shooting in order to assess their technical condition. Simply in Moscow, it was decided to do it far away from them and with a double benefit — both to show the power of the DPRK and Ukraine to be discredited.
In general, now it becomes clear who is truly the main violator-supplier of military equipment to the North Korea territory, and where exactly the RD-250 engines for the intercontinental ballistic missiles sent for Pyongyang. That’s why Mr. Ellman should look for the offender not in Dnipro city but in Russia.
What does Moscow want?
In fact, the Kremlin has decided not just to strike now in Ukraine: now the Russian authority needs to resolve several problems.
First, that is to try again to discredit Donald Trump and his administration. As it is known, on August 11, the US president gave an unambiguous explanation, the DPRK authorities should expect if they try to strike at the US military object on the island of Guam in the western part of the Pacific Ocean.
«If (Kim Jong Un-ed.) expresses any other threat in the form of an open menace … or if he does something about Guam or any other place on the territory of America or its allies, he will truly regret it soon . Military decisions are completely prepared in case the DPRK acting unreasonably. I hope that Kim Jong-un finds another way! «- said the Head of the White House.
The words of the American leader were confirmed during his visit in the capital of South Korea, Seoul, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford. He pointed out that the US is fully prepared to resolve the conflict with the DPRK through military way, if the sanctions do not bring the corresponding results.
Obviously, official Washington does not wish to enter into a military confrontation with the DPRK because of a possible intervention into the conflict by the third party — China, which has a common border with the North Korea. That is why the White House is trying to use all possible (peaceful) tools to pressure Pyongyang.
The Kremlin realises this, and therefore Moscow exacerbates the situation on the Korean peninsula, supplying weapons, dual-use goods, food to the DPRK.
It is now important for Moscow to provoke Trump, because the more chaos he makes in American and world politics, the stronger this weakens the United States position.
It is clear that the story with supposedly Ukrainian engines may affect the prestige of White House head, who decided to support Ukraine in its struggle against Russian aggression.
Secondly and this rather is a sequent, such a strike from the Kremlin will strengthen the positions of those representatives of the American elite who oppose the provision of Ukraine with defensive lethal weapons. According to The Washington Post, the US State Department and the Pentagon are now trying to adopt a plan for the transfer anti-tank and anti-aircraft defense systems to the Ukrainian Army.
It is extremely understandable that the United States will not help the country that supplies US’s enemy with strategic weapons elements. This is exactly the image, which The Kremlin is trying to draw for Ukraine and thereby strengthen the position of transfer opponents within the US itself. As a result, it can delay the transfer of defensive lethal weapons to Ukraine for an indefinite period.
The story of the «Ukrainian engines» is worth noticing, by the way, because it is also timed to the upcoming meeting of the US Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volcker and Russian Presidential Aide Vladislav Surkov.
The parties was supposed at this event to will have discussed new sanctions against Russia and issues related to the provision of lethal weapons to Ukraine.
Thirdly, the Kremlin needed to avoid the growing international scandal and «shift from a sick head to a healthy one.» German rocket engineer Robert Schmucker have recently made, as you remember, sensational statement in an interview with Deutsche Welle.
He pointed out that the missiles used by North Korea in the latest test launches were made in Russia and imported into the DPRK.
«Previous missiles that the North Koreans launched – “SCUD”, “Nodon” and “Tochka” rockets — are all Soviet developments.
The overwhelming majority of missiles are clear to be old Soviet one’s and it can be easily seen from military parades photographs and from launches.
But the new missiles, launched in the last 12-14 months, are based on a different technology, which is no longer related to “SCUD” and others.
They had to create this technology literally out of nothing. But even here we see that the engines used in these missiles have absolutely arrived from Russia, «he said.
Undoubtedly, the Russian leadership needed to eliminate the consequences of this strike and switch the world community’s attention to, so to say, pseudo-violator — Ukraine.
In fact, the answer to the question of the engines’ origin that were installed on North Korean missiles lies in the German engineer words: «… but even here we see that the engines used in these missiles have absolutely arrived from Russia.»
However, all of the above is by no means secondary, but not the main one. The key goal, pursued by the Russian leadership, became immediately clear. And, so to speak, there is two layers in this information attack against Ukraine.
The first, the simplest one, is to spin informational fake about imminent sanctions that our state and authorities will undergo through the «fifth column» inside Ukraine itself. According to the Kremlin’s workbook, Ukrainian authority was aware of what is happening at the “Yuzhmash” plant. Such narrative is another attempt to destabilize the Ukrainian political and information field, make it vulnerable to further attacks.
The second scenario — is no less dangerous for Ukraine — imposing restrictions (even temporary) on the part of the US against our state: if we block financial and political channels from the main partners such as the United States, our state, after all, will become more vulnerable, which means, it can be quickly neutralized, as it is apparently suggested in Russia. It is high time for Kremlin right now to make every possible effort to embody this scenario into reality. Now, the only thing we are to do provide the diligent monitoring of the Moscow movements and to anticipate them at every turn. Fortunately, the vis-a-vis was again too predictable.
Ракетная программа КНДР и суть манипуляций об «украинском следе»