Issued by CEMO Center - Paris
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Can Cruise Missiles Change the Fate of the War in Favor of Ukraine?

Sunday 28/May/2023 - 10:54 PM
The Reference
Mahmoud Al-Batakoushi

The Ukrainian front, in its ongoing war with Russia, is striving to change the rules of the game. Initially, Russia had the upper hand, but the situation quickly turned into a back-and-forth conflict with strikes happening here and there.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky aims to capitalize on the dwindling morale of the Russian army, following the recent attacks that targeted Moscow itself, including the attempted assassination of President Vladimir Putin through two drones, as well as strikes on army depots and supply lines.

The day after the Kremlin was targeted and fuel depots in Crimea were exploded, the Russian army suffered a painful blow to its supply routes in the Stavropol region, located 470 kilometers away from the Ukrainian theater of operations. A massive fuel depot was destroyed.

President Volodymyr Zelensky is exerting strong pressure on Western countries to obtain long-range weapons and ammunition capable of threatening Russian national security. It seems that his long-sought solution lies in the Storm Shadow cruise missiles, with a range of approximately 300 kilometers, placing Russian airspace at the mercy of Ukraine.

A Game-Changing Leap

According to Basil Al-Haj, a researcher in Russian affairs, Ukraine's success in acquiring Storm Shadow cruise missiles, which are launched from the air, could lead to a game-changing leap in the Ukrainian-Russian war in favor of Kyiv. Over the past fifteen months, Ukraine has endured painful Russian strikes. If Russia's heartland and Moscow itself become vulnerable to long-range cruise missiles, it would bypass Russia's red lines, placing the Russian bear in a highly precarious position.

Ending the Conflict

Basil Al-Haj affirms that the Ukrainian-Russian war has exhausted the economies of European countries, which have suffered from the economic sanctions imposed on Russia. These countries now seek to end the conflict as soon as possible, and long-range weapons might provide an effective solution to the crisis. A clear indication of this is the statement made by Oleksiy Reznikov, the Ukrainian Minister of Defense, who emphasized that if Ukraine managed to strike targets within a range of 300 kilometers, the Russian army would be unable to defend itself and would inevitably face defeat.

The expert in Russian affairs further explains that Ukraine's intensive efforts to acquire long-range cruise missiles are a cause for concern for the United States. Previously, the administration of President Joe Biden rejected Ukrainian demands for long-range weapons and ammunition, as Washington recognizes that any genuine threat to the Russian homeland would have severe consequences, jeopardizing global security and ultimately endangering humanity itself. It should be noted that Russian President Vladimir Putin has previously threatened to use nuclear weapons if Russian national security is at risk.

Powerful Strikes in Russian Heartland

The researcher in Russian affairs clarifies that if Ukraine succeeds in obtaining long-range cruise missiles, their range would reach Russian command centers, supply lines, and ammunition depots. Ukraine would be capable of launching powerful strikes deep behind the Russian frontlines. These missiles could be installed on Ukrainian-made Soviet-era aircraft, reaching deep into Russian territory. Furthermore, they could target fuel and support depots in the Crimean Peninsula and the Russian-controlled territories in eastern Ukraine, paving the way for tank and infantry forces, with Kyiv prepared for an extensive counteroffensive in the coming weeks. Russia will not allow such a scenario to unfold, as it directly threatens the survival of the Russian state.