Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Nasser Kanaani rejected claims that Iran sends combat drones to Russia in a statement published on the MFA website.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran considers news published on the delivery of drones to Russia for use in the Ukraine war as baseless and does not confirm it,” Kanaani said adding that Iran follows a “principled and clear policy on active impartiality and opposition to war” and advocates for a “political resolution to disputes between two sides.”
This comes amid Russia’s first drone attack on a Ukrainian town in the north of the country. Fires at infrastructure facilities were reported and at least one person was injured in the night of 5 October after am attack by Iranian drones apparently launched from Belarus.
Iranian Shahed-136 drones in the war against Ukraine
On September 16, the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine confirmed that the Russian military uses Iranian drones in Ukraine for the first time. They noted that shooting down this target is extremely difficult, so additional equipment and intense monitoring by the air defense units are required.
Yurii Ihnat, the spokesperson for the Air Force Command explained that Shahed 136 is barely visible on radars; it’s a relatively small aerial target that flies mainly at a low altitude. It can be shot down with different air defense systems, or even small arms. But the best options, in this case, would be anti-aircraft guns or, for example, such air defense systems as Ukraine’s ZSU-23-4 Shylka or Germany’s Gepard. Also, the drones can be taken down with electronic warfare systems.
The Ukrainian military has been shooting down Shahed-136s on the battleground. For example, on September 22, 5 kamikaze drones were shot down over Mykolaiv Oblast. At least four of them were Iranian-made Shahed-136s. The drones were used against Ukraine during its recent successful offensive in Kharkiv Oblast, creating problems for Ukrainian artillery units, WSJ reported.
The Washington Post and CNN reported earlier that Iran had sent a batch of unmanned aerial vehicles to Russia. According to them, drones Mohajer-6, Shahed-129, and Shahed-191 were sent to Russia on August 19. Sources close to US intelligence said that the Russian military was dissatisfied with the first tests of the Iranian UAVs, as they faced numerous malfunctions. However, according to WP, Moscow intends to buy hundreds of such drones from Tehran.
Although Iran’s drone program has been developing since the late 1980s, the country is under sanctions, and many of the drones are believed to have been largely copied from foreign vehicles.
A report shared earlier revealed that the Iranian Shahed-131 drone which is similar to the Shahed-136, has US-produced CPUs.
Most of Russia’s attacks by Iranian drones on Ukrainian cities were carried out on the southern cities of Odesa and Mykolaiv.
Most drones that were shot down were of the Shahed-136 model, but a Mohajer-6 was also shot down near Odesa: