Russia is reportedly planning to top up its drone fleet for $200 million with a fresh Iranian contract, after several imported drones were destroyed in the ongoing Ukraine war, reports say.
The source shared satellite imagery showing two Russian military cargo planes parked for around three and a half hours at the Tehran airport in the early hours of August 20 as evidence of the deal. At least five Russian aircraft have transported drones from Iran since then, the report said.
These weapons -- a U.S. Javelin anti-tank missile, a Stinger anti-aircraft missile and a British NLAW anti-tank missile -- could be used by the Iranians for reverse engineering, the source said. As a swap deal, Moscow received 100 Shahed-136 drones, 60 smaller Shahed-131 drones and six Mohajer-6 drones.
In the recent days, the two parties have agreed on another $200 million drone deal, the source claimed. “That means there will be another big supply of UAVs from Iran soon.”
Ukraine has accused Russia of deploying hundreds of Iran-made drones and cruise missiles to strike civilian infrastructure, causing widespread blackouts and water outages. Kyiv also claims Russia has ordered around 2,000 more drones from Iran.
While the Kremlin has vehemently denied these claims, Iran admitted to having sent drones to Russia. It stressed that the deliveries took place before the February invasion of Ukraine.
“This fuss made by some western countries that Iran has provided missiles and drones to Russia to help the war in Ukraine – the missile part is completely wrong,” foreign minister Hossein Amirabdollahian told reporters after an event in Tehran on Saturday. “The drone part is true and we provided Russia a small number of drones months before the Ukraine war.”
Amirabdollahian told state media that Tehran and Kyiv had agreed to discuss allegations about the use of Iranian drones in Ukraine two weeks ago but the Ukrainians did not show up at the agreed meeting. “We agreed with the foreign minister of Ukraine to provide us with documents they have that Russia used Iranian drones in Ukraine,” Amirabdollahian said, but the Ukrainian delegation pulled out of the planned meeting at the last minute.