Or just a bluff?
Did Ukraine Just Build a Cruise Missile That Can Stike 1000 Kilometers Away?
As the Ukrainian election heats up in April 2019, the incumbent President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko made a bold claim: Ukraine has made an indigenous cruise missile with a range of 1000 kilometers, capable of carrying a 150-kilogram warhead.
The strategic implications of such a weapon might be critical for Ukrainian defense planning. But what is the missile likely based on? How could it be an effective deterrent?
Using long-range conventional cruise missiles for deterrence against Russia is not without precedent. The American JASSM long-range aerial-launched cruise missiles are popular exports to countries bordering Russia, with Finland buying regular JASSMs with ranges of around 370 kilometers and Poland buying JASSM-ERs with ranges in excess of 900 kilometers.
A common narrative is that these missiles would be used to strike Russian Anti-Access/Area-Denial (A2/AD) weapons, allowing NATO air and sea reinforcements to operate in event of conflict. This too is applicable to Ukraine.
However, a more crucial aspect may be delaying Russian reinforcements to a potential conflict. By striking infrastructure and troop concentrations, long-range cruise missiles may hinder reinforcements reaching the front line at critical points during battle.