Last year, Michael Elleman, a weapons expert at the International Institute of Strategic Studies, published an alarming claim about North Korea’s recent missile gains: they may have been getting technology from a one-time Soviet factory.
Elleman rooted his analysis in a close examination of the rockets used on North Korea’s latest tests — which looked a lot like ones that were once made in the Yuzhmash factory, in the eastern Ukrainian town of Dnipro.
But at the factory itself — which since the fall of the Soviet Union has been rebranded as a space-exploration agency — officials were in a panic. They adamantly denied having anything to do with North Korea. And they let VICE News visit, the first time American cameras were allowed inside, in an attempt to prove they had nothing to hide.