Iran is preparing to deliver additional weapons to Russia, including around 1,000 surface-to-surface missiles and attack drones, CNN revealed, citing Western officials.
The expected precision-guided missile delivery is an expansion over Iran’s previous shipment of drones to Moscow, causing it to be more closely monitored, the outlet wrote.
The shipment’s precise timing is unknown, but it will likely occur before the end of the year.
Pentagon press secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder stated on Tuesday that the US has “concerns” about Russia seeking “additional advanced munition capabilities from Iran for example surface-to-surface missiles, to use in Ukraine.”
Reacting to the development, CNN quoted the official spokesperson for Ukraine’s Air Force Command, Yuriy Ihnat, as saying that the country has “no effective defense against these (surface-to-surface) missiles. It is theoretically possible to shoot them down, but it is very difficult to do it with the means we currently have.”
Russia-Iran Missile Deal
The reports of Tehran’s possible delivery of missiles to Russia emerged last month when Iranian officials confessed to a deal between the two countries.
The reported deal included the supply of short-range Iranian ballistic missiles to Russia, including the Fateh-110 and Zolfaghar, capable of striking targets from 300 to 700 kilometers (186 to 435 miles).
Iran’s previous delivery of 450 Shahed-136 “kamikaze” drones has severely damaged Ukrainian infrastructure, particularly power plants.
Ukrainian officials claim to have knocked out 300 of them.
Iran has denied delivering drones to Russia for its fight against Ukraine. However, White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby confirmed Russia’s use of Iranian drones in Ukraine earlier this month.
“We can confirm that Russian military personnel that are based in Crimea have been piloting Iranian UAVs, using them to conduct strikes across Ukraine, including strikes against Kyiv,” CNN quoted Kirby as saying.