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WASHINGTON, August 15. /TASS/. North Korea has the ability to produce rocket engines on its own, a US intelligence official told TASS on Tuesday commenting on media reports that the Communist state’s recent missile launches could be linked to purchases of Ukrainian-made rocket engines on the black market.
"We have intelligence to suggest that North Korea is not reliant on imports of engines. Instead, we judge they have the ability to produce the engines themselves," the official said.
The New York Times reported on Monday, citing the results of a research conducted by Senior Fellow for Missile Defense of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Michael Elleman and secret data of the American security agencies, that North Korea’s test firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile might be connected with the purchase of Ukrainian-made rocket engines on the black market.
Secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council Oleksandr Turchynov said in response that Ukraine’s defense and aerospace production plants had not supplied armaments and military technologies to North Korea. Ukraine’s rocket-making enterprise Yuzhmash, in its part, affirmed that it had nothing to do with North Korean missile programs.
On Tuesday, Yuzhmash Chief Designer Alexander Degtyaryov said that two North Korean nationals had been convicted for espionage at Yuzhmash in 2012 and did not rule out that someone could have made a copy of the Ukrainian engine.