Russia has launched almost 5,000 missiles on Ukraine, according to Zelensky

Russia to build attack drones with Iran’s help for use in Ukraine war, intelligence report says

Russia is using Iranian drones in its invasion of Ukraine

An alleged Iranian-made drone launched by Russia over Ukraine.

Iran and Russia have reached an agreement to begin production of attack drones on Russian soil, according to a new intelligence assessment from a country that keeps a close eye on Iran’s weapons program.

Iran is beginning to transfer the drone blueprints and components to Russia following an initial deal reached earlier this month, according to a source familiar with the assessment.

US officials have said that Russia has received hundreds of drones from Tehran, which have had a deadly effect in Ukraine.

Earlier this month, Iran’s government acknowledged for the first time that it had sent a limited number of drones to Russia in the months before it began its invasion of Ukraine.

“Some Western countries have accused Iran of aiding the Ukrainian war by providing drones… yes, we did provide a limited number of drones to Russia in the months before the start of the war in Ukraine,” the minister said. of Iran’s Foreign Affairs, Hossein Amirabdollahian, to reporters in Tehran.

The goal is for Russia to produce thousands of new attack drones using Iranian components and blueprints, the source explained. If the two countries go full steam ahead with their plan, production is expected to start in a few months and the drones may be used by Russia on the battlefield in Ukraine next year, the source said.

It would be a move that would further cement the partnership between Tehran and Moscow and would likely draw the ire of Ukraine and its Western allies, including the United States.

The Washington Post was the first outlet to report on the deal.

Some context: The moves come after CNN and other outlets reported that Iran was preparing to send weapons including surface-to-surface short-range ballistic missiles and more attack drones to Russia before the end of the year.

The source familiar with the assessment said those reports caused concern in Iran, which appears to have prompted the regime to rethink its approach with plans to have Russia manufacture the drones instead of Iran transferring them directly.

The production process for attack drones is not complicated compared to the production of other weapons, the source explained.

CNN has asked the Russian embassy in Washington and Iran’s mission to the United Nations for comment.

Asked for comment on the assessment, White House National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said: “Iran and Russia can lie to the world, but they can’t hide the facts: Tehran is helping to kill civilians. Ukrainians by supplying weapons and assisting Russia in its operations. It’s another sign of how isolated both Iran and Russia are.”

Why is this deal important?: Drones have played a major role in the conflict since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in late February, but their use has increased since the summer, when the United States and Kyiv said Moscow had acquired drones from Iran. In recent weeks, these Iranian drones have been used to attack critical energy infrastructure in Ukraine.

Some of the Iranian drones are known as “loitering munitions” because they are capable of circling for some time in an area identified as a potential target and only attacking once an enemy asset is identified.

They are small, portable, and can be easily thrown, but their main advantage is that they are hard to spot and can be fired from a distance.

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