00:30 GMT +322 January 2020
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    Ukraine’s state-run defense firm Ukroboronprom announced a successful test of a new cruise missile, dubbed Neptun, in August. One DC think tank says it’s “visually similar” to the Russian Kh-35.

    The Neptun, a subsonic anti-ship cruise missile, was developed by the Ukrainian state design bureau Luch in Kiev. Its reported reported range is between 280 and 300 kilometers (174 and 186 miles).

    According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies' Missile Defense Project, the missile "reportedly has ground-, sea- and air-launched variants."

    Those are still in development, however, but could strike targets as distant as Moscow, Defense News noted.

    The outlet cites Ukrainian defense expert Serhiy Sguretz, who said that the missile's warhead comes with high-explosive fragmentation. Neptun also reportedly flies with a typical trajectory for cruise missiles at between 10 to 30 meters (33 to 98 feet) above the surface.

    Oleksandr Turchynov, the former acting president of Ukraine and current secretary of the country's National Security and Defense Council, said after the test that the anti-ship missile could destroy "strategic bridges and ferry crossings in case of their use by the enemy for aggression against our state."

    "Ukrainian cruise missiles are capable of providing reliable defense of the Black Sea and Azov coast, affecting enemy vessels at distances up to 300 kilometers, if necessary, even in the ports they are based," he added.

    On Thursday, the US State Department decried Russia's alleged "harassment of international shipping" in the Sea of Azov and Kerch Strait. 

    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko attends a ceremony to hand over weapons and military vehicles to servicemen of the Ukrainian armed forces in Chuhuiv outside Kharkiv, Ukraine, October 15, 2016
    © REUTERS / Mikhail Palinchak/Ukrainian Presidential Press Service

    Spokesperson Heather Nauert accused Moscow of trying to destabilize Ukraine, adding that 16 commercial ships have been blocked from reaching Ukrainian ports recently.

    "Russia's actions to impede maritime transit are further examples of its ongoing campaign to undermine and destabilize Ukraine, as well as its disregard for international norms," Nauert said in a statement.


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