Russia appears to be out of Iranian-made drones, Western officials said Tuesday.
The comments come after Ukraine's military said Iranian drones don't work during cold weather.
British intelligence said last month that Russian suicide drone attacks appeared to stop.
Russian forces appear to be out of Iranian-made drones that have been used in recent weeks to terrorize Ukrainian cities and civilians, Western officials say.
One unnamed Western official said Tuesday that while Moscow has run out of the Iranian drones, it still anticipates "a resupply," according to an ABC News report. The comments come amid a drop in usage for the deadly systems.
Yevgeny Silkin, a top Ukrainian military official, said recently that Russia had stopped using Iranian-made drones because they don't work in cold weather, noting that they are constructed using plastic and other materials that are not resistant to frost.
Britain's defense ministry shared in a late-November intelligence update that there had been no public reports of "one way attack" (OWA) drone strikes since November 17, a reference to the Iranian-made explosive suicide drone Shahed-136 that became a weapon of choice for Russian President Vladimir Putin's forces.
"Russia has likely very nearly exhausted its current stock, but will probably seek resupply," Britain's defense ministry said at the time. "Russia can probably procure UAVs from overseas more rapidly than it can manufacture new cruise missiles domestically."
The top US intelligence official, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said recently that Russia is burning through its munitions stockpiles faster than it can replenish them. Drones are a cheaper alternative.
US officials had warned over the summer that Iran was preparing to send drones to Russia, and then the weapons first saw battlefield action in early September. These weapons included the Shahed-136, Shahed-129, Shahed-191, and Qods Mohajer-6 and were used in "hundreds" of attacks against Ukraine in the following weeks, Britain's defense ministry said.
Most notable of the weapons has been the Shahed-136, which Russian forces have used to terrorize Ukrainian cities in attacks against the country's civilian areas, civil infrastructure, and energy grid.
Although the Shahed-136 is referred to as a drone, it's actually a long-range loitering munition — meaning it can fly around like a drone and linger over a target area. Once on site, these systems can be directed at specific targets, fly straight into them, and detonate upon impact — thus leading people to refer to them as suicide or kamikaze drones.
These 440-pound weapons are relatively slow, fly at low altitudes, and carry a small explosive payload, according to Western intelligence. Despite this, when launched in swarms these systems can cause considerable damage.
Aside from reaching out to Iran, Russia — facing crippling international sanctions — has also sought military assistance from North Korea. US officials have said previously that Moscow's search for help among pariah states such as these is a sign of Putin's desperation.
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