Russian ships are transporting large amounts of Iranian-made artillery shells and ammunition across the Caspian Sea to resupply Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. Cargo ships have transported over 300,000 artillery shells and 1 million rounds of ammunition from Iran to Russia in the past six months. Intelligence on these shipments has been passed on to the US, WSJ writes.
The last shipment of weapons known to have crossed the Caspian Sea to Russia left Iran in early March aboard the cargo ship Rasul Gamzatov, carrying 1,000 containers with 2,000 artillery shells.
Publicly available shipping data suggests that the Rasul Gamzatov left the Iranian port of Bandar Amirabad on 8 March and arrived in Astrakhan in Russia six days later. The vessel belongs to the Russian company MG-Flot, which was sanctioned by the US Treasury Department last year for transporting weapons for Russia. US officials state that Iran mainly uses cargo planes to deliver weapons to Russia, making intervention almost impossible.
Iran’s relationship with Russia is gradually moving from transactional to strategic. Russia has not yet sent Iran advanced Su-35 fighter jets, but a group of Iranians recently visited a factory in Russia that produces these modern jet fighters, which could be a sign that the deal is moving forward.