On 14 August 2017, the New York Times published an article by Pulitzer winning journalists William Broad and David E. Sanger stating that North Korea’s recent ballistic missile success is explained by black market purchases of rocket engines “probably from a Ukrainian factory,” namely – the Yuzhnoye construction bureau in its Russian transcription, or Yuzhmash, now known as Pivdenne, located in Dnipro.
North Korea’s 4 July 2017 launch of the HWASONG-14 rocket with a range over 5,500 km had beemphawildered specialists. While the rogue country was in the possession of a nuclear bomb starting from 2006, the short- and medium-range rockets it managed to develop were able to carry it to South Korea, Japan, and US bases in Guam. Its attempts to create an intercontinental ballistic rocket capable of striking the USA were all unsuccessful. That is, until 2017.
The New York Times article was based on a report written by Michael Elleman, a Senior Fellow for Missile Defence at the British-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, and who led a Threat Reduction program in Russia from 1995-2001, and immediately made headlines around the world. After all, a US strategic ally had allegedly helped the US’ mortal enemy. Predictably, Yuzhmash and Security Council Chief Oleksandr Turchynov denied Ukraine was involved. Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Poroshenko has ordered a probe into the allegations of the report.
But despite its popularity and well-known authors, the article appears to be, in the best case, extremely sloppy journalism, and in the worst – a hit piece with possibly grave consequences, according to Ukrainian officials and experts. Here is why.
What do the article and report claim?…