The U.S. claimed for months that Russia was seeking to obtain Iranian drones. Earlier this year, Russia sent a delegation to Iran to look at Iranian drones.
Iran’s UAV program has expanded in recent years, and Iran has perfected types of kamikaze drones. Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Venezuela and Ethiopia. The United States imposed sanctions against Iranian companies involved in the production and supply of drones to Russia.
Last week, the Ukrainian military showed photos of what appeared to be an Iranian Shahed-136 drone with Cyrillic writing on it, suggesting it was used and possibly even manufactured in Russia.
The UK Department of Defense concluded that Russia likely stationed Iranian UAVs in Ukraine.
In the war with Ukraine, Russia relies on cruise missiles, artillery, and now drones. Russia does not have many sophisticated UAVs of its own, and the partnership between Russia and Iran in this regard is growing.
The WSJ report says that over the past week, triangular Shahed-136 drones, repainted in Russian colors and renamed Geranium 2, began to appear over the positions of Ukrainian armored vehicles and artillery in the north-east of the Kharkiv region.
Russia is losing ground in Kharkiv and it looks like UAVs have been sent here, possibly to save Russia from bringing in more troops as its forces are retreating. If it can stall the Ukrainian advance and slow them down, it will make the Russian rout less obvious.
Russia’s use of Iranian drones could have repercussions in the Middle East because Iran has used drones throughout the region and threatened them to Israel.