Russia’s supplies have reportedly been running a bit low recently in the war in Ukraine. According to British intelligence leaders, this is noticeable with the kinds of missiles Russia is using. At the beginning of the war, it used precise missiles (called precision-guided missiles) to hit targets across Ukraine. But recently, Russia has resorted to using Iranian drones, which are slower and, therefore, easier to shoot down. It seems the stocks of other weapons are running low, and international sanctions are making it difficult for Russia to manufacture more weapons of its own.
Now, Iran has agreed to ship surface-to-surface missiles and more drones to Russia. Russia and Iran initially reached the deal back on October 6. This is a big deal, and it’s likely to make the West pretty angry. Some leaders have already called for new sanctions on Iran over the shipments. There’s also a question of whether this will jeopardize the ongoing negotiations for the Iran Nuclear Deal.
“We know – and Russian commanders on the ground know – that their supplies and munitions are running out," said Sir Jeremy Fleming, head of Britain’s intelligence agency, the GCHQ.
“The Russians had asked for more drones and those Iranian ballistic missiles with improved accuracy, particularly the Fateh and Zolfaghar missiles family," said one Iranian diplomat, according to Reuters. “Where they are being used is not the seller’s issue. We do not take sides in the Ukraine crisis like the West. We want an end to the crisis through diplomatic means," they said.
“These are desperate acts of a man losing a war on the battlefield," tweeted UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly. “It’s why we sent air defence missiles. He won’t break the Ukrainians or our resolve to stand with them."
“Russian equipment with Russian nomenclature is used," said Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov when asked if Russia had been using Iranian drones in Ukraine. “All further questions should be directed to the Defense Ministry."