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Russia Using Weapons in Ukraine Smuggled by Iranian Militia: Report

Russia is sourcing Iraqi weapons for its Ukraine military campaign through Iran-backed smuggling networks, The Guardian has revealed.

The weapons include rocket-propelled grenades (RGPs), anti-tank missiles, and Brazilian rocket launchers, the outlet wrote, citing Iran-backed Iraqi militias and regional intelligence services.

Tehran has also reportedly donated a Bavar 373 air defense missile system to Russia, as a report last month estimated that Moscow had lost $5 billion worth of military equipment in the campaign.

Shipped by Sea

According to The Guardian, Russian authorities collected a consignment of RPGs and anti-tank missiles from the Hashd al-Shaabi Shia militia group in Tehran on March 26 and shipped it to Russia by sea.

Six days later, the group shipped a dismantled Brazilian Astros II rocket launcher system to Russia.

“We don’t care where the heavy weapons go,” the outlet quoted a Hashd al-Shaabi source as saying. “Whatever is anti-US makes us happy.”

Russia’s Attempt to Circumvent Sanctions

The report cited Russia’s need to lean on Iran for military support as a sign of Moscow’s international isolation and battlefield struggles. Citing US officials, it added that Russia is also counting on Chinese military assistance. 

Meanwhile, Ukraine has accused Georgia of not blocking a Russian smuggling route through the country.

Moscow reportedly built the route as a means of circumventing Western sanctions that have crippled the country’s ability to import military equipment and civilian goods. 

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense alleged that Georgian political leadership had instructed its special services not to “hinder the activities of the smugglers.”

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