UK Defense Ministry: Russia has likely run out of Iranian-made drones

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Since around Feb. 15, there have been no reports of Russia using Iranian-made “one-way attack” drones to carry out strikes against Ukraine, the U.K. Defense Ministry said in its latest intelligence update.

The ministry said that Ukrainian forces shot down at least 24 Iranian-made Shahed-136 kamikaze drones between late January and early February.

According to the ministry, the lack of Iranian-made drone deployments “likely indicates that Russia has run down its current stock.”

The U.K. Defense Ministry also said Russia would likely seek to resupply the drones.

“Although the weapons do not have a good record in destroying their intended targets, Russia likely sees them as useful decoys which can divert Ukrainian air defenses from more effective Russian cruise missiles,” the ministry added.

Russia has been using Iranian-made kamikaze drones to attack Ukraine since September, launching attacks against civilians and destroying energy facilities across the country.

In February, the Guardian reported that Iran smuggled at least 18 long-range Mohajer-6 combat drones to Russia in November for the war against Ukraine shortly after a Russian delegation visited Tehran.

On Feb. 5, the WSJ reported that Moscow and Tehran were planning to build a factory in Russia that could produce more than 6,000 Iranian-designed combat drones.

In November, the U.S. imposed sanctions against companies and individuals involved in producing and transferring Iranian drones to Russia. The EU and Canada have also sanctioned Iran over its supply of kamikaze drones to Moscow.