KIEV, (Sputnik) – The State Space Agency of Ukraine (SSAU) will not sue The New York Times newspaper for its article about the possible purchase of Ukrainian-produced missile engines by North Korea, SSAU acting chairman Yuriy Radchenko told reporters on Tuesday.
On Monday, The New York Times published an article, citing classified assessments by US intelligence agencies and a study by Michael Elleman, a senior fellow for missile defense with the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) think tank, which suggested that Pyongyang may be using a modified RD-250 high-performance liquid-propellant engine (LPE) for its latest missiles, the kind that used to be developed at Ukraine’s state-owned Yuzhmash and Russia’s Energomash companies. The article cited Elleman as saying that the engines for North Korean missiles likely came from Ukraine, and probably by illicit means.
“The United States is our strategic partner in space programs … so we are not interested in deteriorating relations with official state bodies. Moreover, we are speaking about the position of a journalist, who is free to say any remarks, not about the position of the State Department or any other department or NASA,” Radchenko said.
From his point of view, the image of Ukraine will not be damaged by The New York Times’ publication.
“I believe that [the image] will not be damaged as the image is based on the developments that the country has in international projects. Experts will give the right assessment,” Radchenko added.
Ihor Savula, the acting chairman of the State Service of Export Control of Ukraine (SSECU), said that the organization had not issued documents allowing the supply of technologies or goods to North Korea.
“During the period of Ukrainian independence, the service has not provided any documents allowing deliveries of goods mentioned in the article to North Korea,” Savula said at a press conference.
He said that all the accusations were unsubstantiated.
“Concerning this publication … It has no grounds. Ukraine is a member of all the regimes of export control including the Missile Control Technology Regime,” Savula added.
Yuzhmash on Monday denied any involvement in North Korea’s space or defense-related missile programs. The aeurospace manufacturer also pointed out that it had produced neither missiles nor missile systems since Ukraine became an independent state after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, whereas its only exported, serially-produced engine was designed for use in space and was not suitable for ballistic missiles.
Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council Secretary Oleksandr Turchynov also said Monday that Ukraine defense and aerospace companies did not supply any weapons or military technologies to North Korea.