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Russia defies U.S. data on location of North Korea launch

By Elizabeth Shim
The missile North Korea launched on July 4 was tested at Sohae Satellite Launching Station in Tongchang-ri, North Pyongan Province, Russia claims in documents submitted to the United Nations. File Photo by KCNA/EPA
The missile North Korea launched on July 4 was tested at Sohae Satellite Launching Station in Tongchang-ri, North Pyongan Province, Russia claims in documents submitted to the United Nations. File Photo by KCNA/EPA

July 20 (UPI) -- Documents Russia submitted to the United Nations last week challenge U.S. claims regarding the location of a recent North Korea missile launch.

According to Russian data collected from the Voronezh radar base in Irkutsk, the Hwasong-14 was launched from Tongchang-ri in North Pyongan Province, Voice of America reported Wednesday.

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The Russian documents appeared to claim the rocket was launched from the Sohae Satellite Launching Station, which the Kim Jong Un regime previously used to launch an Earth-orbiting satellite in February 2016.

Moscow included a map with the document, marking the launch site at about 60 miles northwest of Pyongyang, the capital.

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Both the United States and South Korea independently concluded the projectile launched on the Fourth of July was launched from a different site -- Panghyon Airbase, in the same province.

In the documents, Russia also claims the Hwasong-14 is a North Korean midrange ballistic missile, and not, as North Korea claimed, an intercontinental ballistic missile capable or reaching the U.S. mainland.

U.S. experts have said Russia's Voronezh-type radar may be flawed, and some have said Russia is making the statements for political purposes, according to VOA.

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Russia's documents state the missile flight time was 14 minutes, the maximum altitude reached was 332 miles and flight distance was 317 miles.

Based on Moscow's data, the Hwasong-14 is a midrange missile that can hit targets within a 1,240-mile range.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has previously defended North Korea and blamed the United States for Pyongyang's weapons buildup.

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Russia has also blocked a statement urging North Korea sanctions at the United Nations Security Council.

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