|Russia denies aiding North Korean arms push
MOSCOW, Russia (AP) -- Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov has dismissed allegations of leaks of sensitive Russian weapons technologies to North Korea, calling them a "myth."
Ivanov's statement followed an article Tuesday in Jane's Defense Weekly that said North Korea had developed a new missile, based on Russian designs, that could enable it to threaten the continental United States for the first time.
"I can assure you that Russia has never delivered anything that is illegal or banned to any country, including North Korea," Ivanov said Thursday on a trip to the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan, according to the Interfax news agency.
"We know who is involved in creating North Korea's nuclear program," Ivanov said without elaboration.
"The problem is indeed very serious, but allegations that Russia has a role in it are a myth."
Jane's said that the new weapon is based on the old Soviet R-27 missile and that the technology is believed to have come from Russia's V.P. Makeyev Design Bureau, which designed the missile in the 1960s.
Jane's said the North Korean missile was being developed in a land-based and sea-based version and would have an estimated range of 2,500 to 4,000 kilometers (1,550-2,500 miles).
The ground-launched version would be capable of hitting Hawaii or U.S. bases in Okinawa, Japan, Jane's said.
Yuri Teplitsyn, deputy chief of the V.P. Makeyev Design Bureau, angrily dismissed the allegations in an interview published Thursday in the Russian daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta.
"Experts of our state rocket center have never visited North Korea and have not given Koreans any assistance in developing powerful offensive weapons on the basis of our old R-27 missile," Teplitsyn was quoted as saying.
Teplitsyn described the publication as part of a "U.S. campaign against Russian defense industries."
The U.S. administration previously has introduced sanctions against a number of Russian defense enterprises and research centers accused of leaking sensitive technologies abroad.
The Kremlin has angrily denied the accusations, saying that the Russian companies had acted in full compliance with the international nonproliferation regime.
Russian officials often say the sanctions and claims of technology leaks from Russia are aimed at decreasing competition.