Iran is now Russia’s ‘top military backer’ giving Putin’s forces ‘large number of ballistic missiles’

Russian President Vladimir Putin  (AP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin (AP)

Iran has become Russia’s top military backer since the invasion of Ukraine, British defence chiefs have said.

In its latest intelligence update, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said Russia is procuring a “large number of ballistic missiles” from the Iranians in a bid to “expand its campaign of strikes against Ukraine’s critical infrastructure”.

The MoD wrote: “Iran has become one of Russia’s top military backers since Russia invaded Ukraine.

“Iran’s support to the Russian military is likely to grow in the coming months: Russia is attempting to obtain more weapons, including hundreds of ballistic missiles.

“In return Russia is highly likely offering Iran an unprecedented level of military and technical support that is transforming their defence relationship.”

Volodymyr Zelensky next to an Iranian drone (Zelensky)
Volodymyr Zelensky next to an Iranian drone (Zelensky)

They added: “Russia has highly likely expended a large proportion of its stock of its own SS-26 Iskander short range ballistic missiles, which carry a 500kg warhead up to 500km.

“If Russia succeeds in bringing a large number of Iranian ballistic missiles into service, it will likely use them to continue and expand its campaign of strikes against Ukraine’s critical national infrastructure.”

It comes after the head of Nato expressed fears fighting in Ukraine could lead to a "full-fledged war" as the Russian President Putin vowed that any country that attacked Russia would be wiped from the face of the Earth yesterday.

"If things go wrong, they can go horribly wrong," the Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg (inset) said in remarks to Norwegian broadcaster NRK.

"It is a terrible war in Ukraine. It is also a war that can become a full-fledged war that spreads into a major war between Nato and Russia," he said. "We are working on that every day to avoid that."

Mr Stoltenberg said "there is no doubt that a full-fledged war is a possibility", adding that it was important to avoid a conflict "that involves more countries in Europe."

It comes as Mr Putin said Russia’s advanced hypersonic weapons would ensure Russia could respond forcefully if it came under attack.

Mr Putin also said Russia would have to reach agreements on Ukraine in the future, but it felt betrayed by the breakdown of the Minsk agreements.