Russian military units will soon be heading into battle with equipment provided by one of its few remaining allies: Iran.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense confirmed the news in a statement on Monday, claiming that Russian forces already have Iranian-made equipment in storage awaiting shipment to the field. This includes roughly 7,500 bulletproof vests, 10,000 KL7.62 assault rifles and 5,500 helmets for use by Russian Army.
The Ukrainian ministry claimed that Iran sent this new shipment of equipment in response to reports that Russia’s military was suffering major setbacks in producing gear for its soldiers. This shortage was partly due to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent partial mobilization effort, which conscripted hundreds of thousands of men in the span of a month to help bolster the war effort in Ukraine.
The Ukrainian government claimed this influx of equipment in its statement is not the only assistance Iran is planning to give Russia.
“The Iranian authorities plan to send a new group of advisers to assist the Russian Federation in the combat use of a new type of [unmanned aerial vehicle] – ‘Arash-2’ and Iranian surface-to-surface missiles,” the statement claimed, as translated to English. “Their deliveries are planned to start shortly. Also from Iran, a group of Islamic Revolution Guards Corps advisors arrived in Jankoy [a town in Crimea] to assist in the combat use and improvement of the ‘Shahed-136’ and ‘Mohajer-6’ UAVs.”
Throughout Russia’s campaign in Ukraine, Iran has denied reports that it has supplied drones to its ally’s military. Ukraine, meanwhile, has repeatedly claimed to have shot down scores of Iranian-made drones. On Wednesday, the country claimed to have downed more than 200 of the unmanned crafts in one month alone.
On October 15, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) also disputed Iran’s denial, citing insider leaks claiming that Russia has purchased several new, cutting-edge drones from the country. The report also claimed that Russia was using its partnership with Iran to get around the sanctions imposed on the country by other nations.
“Ukrainian and Russian Telegram channels reported ‘leaked’ information from unspecified Iranian sources that Russia has purchased an unknown number of Arash-2 drones, which are purportedly faster and more destructive than the Shahed-136 drones currently in use by Russian forces,” the ISW explained in its report.
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