Iranian suicide drones supplied to Russia are inflicting casualties on Ukrainian forces in the Kharkiv region, The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday.
Ukrainian military officers told the Journal that the drones, believed to be Shahed-136 drones, operate in pairs, with one targeting nearby radar while the second locks onto its target and rams it. The drones hit several Ukrainian armored vehicles and artillery batteries.
The United States warned in July that Russia planned to acquire military drones from Iran, which has made significant progress in drone development to compensate for its lack of an effective air force.
The Biden administration has been negotiating with Iran since April 2021 to reach a relaunch of a nuclear deal that restricted Tehran’s uranium enrichment program. In exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. Negotiations are currently stalled as Washington says Iran has made unacceptable demands.
Opponents of the deal argue the US should not lift sanctions and should instead step up pressure as Iran’s economy faces serious challenges after four years of US curbs on its oil exports and operations international banking.
Iran is a close ally of Russia and the two countries have worked closely together in the Syrian war, where Moscow has provided air power and Tehran has deployed thousands of militias against rebel forces.
Colonel Rodion Kulagin of the Ukrainian Army told the WSJ that “he hoped that the United States and its allies could provide Ukraine with more advanced anti-drone technologies, or intervene to disrupt Iranian drone shipments to Russia”.