Skip to comments.Kiev admits sending cruise missiles to Iran and China
Posted on 03/17/2005 12:15:35 PM PST by Alex Marko
Ukraine has admitted that it exported 12 cruise missiles to Iran and six to China amid mounting pressure from other countries to explain how the sales occurred.
Svyatoslav Piskun, Ukraine's prosecutor- general, told the FT that 18 X-55 cruise missiles, also known as Kh-55s or AS-15s, were exported in 2001. Although none of the missiles was exported with the nuclear warheads they were designed to carry, Japan and the US say they are worried by what appears to have been a significant leak of technology from the former Soviet Union's nuclear arsenal.
The X-55 has a range of 3,000 km, enough to put Japan within striking range of the Asian continent or to reach Israel from Iran.
The US embassy in Kiev said it was "closely monitoring" the investigation and wanted the findings of a secret trial made public. The US is critical of European diplomatic efforts to prevent Iran developing nuclear weapons.
Japan fears it could be vulnerable to a nuclear strike from the Asian mainland if the Ukrainian missiles fall into Korean hands.
Kishichiro Amae, Japan's ambassador in Kiev, said he was hopeful that the new Ukrainian government, which took over in January, would explain the case but so far he had received no information.
Mr Amae said the new Ukrainian government had shown its readiness to investigate the previous government's misdemeanours when it indicted three high- ranking interior ministry officers this month for the murder in 2000 of journalist Georgy Gongadze. But he said the cruise missile case was more serious. "If it is handled in secrecy, the new government will lose the confidence of the world."
Mr Piskun's admission that Ukraine sold the missiles is the first confirmation by a government official that the exports occurred. The case was made public last month by a member of Ukraine's parliament, whose account Mr Piskun largely confirmed.
The acquisition by Iran of cruise missiles, if proved, would heighten concerns about its nuclear weapons programme.
Mr Piskun said he understood Japan was concerned that the missiles delivered to China could have ended up in North Korea, although there were no grounds to suspect such a transfer.
Ukraine had about 1,000 of the missiles in its arsenal after the break-up of the Soviet Union.
Clones of these to appear at a War Zone near you soon.
Chinese will bootleg these into 1000's faster than a new york minute.
The masters of bootlegging.
It will take a while for the Chinese to copy them.
The worrisome thing is that China can use it as an always ready nuclear force; their current ICBMs are liquid fueled, and cannot be held in a fueled state for long without needing defuelling and maintenance; so they have to be fueled well before any possible launch time. The Kent missiles (NATO name for the AS-15) are always ready.
As for Iran... Well, congrats, Europe - they can hit Rome now, for sure. Surprise! It's no longer speculation - the AS-15 is a known tested quantity. (Unlike the somewhat unproven Shahab-6, which can theoretically hit London, Oslo, Paris, Berlin and lots of other fun places.)
I favor sending cruise missles to Iran especially if they are followed by JDAMs.
Thats exactly how WW1 happened, without the MAD.
Indeed. Congratulations, EUrope.
Iran bought 12: means that's all they could afford and because they can't copy them.
China bought 6: means they bought 4 for immediate testing to see how they can improve upon them, and 2 sent off the bootleg labs.
You underestimate the chinese. They will have thousands of improved versions of these in 2-3 years.
With Iran's new "electricity producing" nuclear program, I wouldn't want to be in Israel.
I said a while. I was addressing the impression that they were going to have 100,000 out by next Tuesday.
China's been working on LACMs for a while. I expect them to have initial operational capability on something like an AS-15 in two years, tops.
I'd like to hear what Vlad has to say about his puppet government selling this ICBMs to Iran and China.
It's a cruise missile, not a ICBM.
ICBMs go WAY up in the air, exit the atmosphere, and then come back down - hence the "ballistic" part of their name.
Cruise missiles are like unmanned kamikaze airplanes. They fly to their target in the atmosphere either at high altitude or at low level.
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