Russia ‘out of Iranian-made drones’, UK defence chiefs report

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

Russia appears to have run out of its current stock of Iranian-made drones and will seek to resupply, according to the latest update by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD).

In its latest update, the MoD tweeted that Russia likely sees the drones as “useful decoys which can divert Ukrainian air defences from more effective Russian cruise missiles”.

Although not confirmed by other sources, the Ukrainian government claimed Russia had received 250 Iranian-made drones last December in order to bolster its invasion.

Now past the anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine, the MoD said: “There have not been any reports of Iranian one-way-attack uncrewed aerial vehicles (OWA-UAVs) being used in Ukraine since around 15 February 2023.

“Prior to this, Ukrainian armed forces reported shooting down at least 24 Shahed-136 OWA-UAVs between late January and early February 2023; and scores were destroyed in the first few days of the year.

“This lack of OWA-UAV deployments likely indicates that Russia has run down its current stock. Russia will likely seek a resupply.

“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 defences from more effective Russian cruise missiles.”

It comes as Britain imposed an export ban on every piece of equipment that Russia has been found using on the battlefield in Ukraine as part of a new internationally co-ordinated package of sanctions, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly announced yesterday.

The UK also sanctioned senior executives at the Russian state-owned nuclear power company Rosatom, as well as bosses at Russia’s two largest defence companies and four banks.

Speaking on Friday, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said: “I do not even want to think about it.

“We are partners. We have to be together. We will win.”

He added: “I really want every single partner to remain strong, to remain united for our victory, because that is going to be a victory of values.

“I am confident that we will have this victory soon. We have everything to have it this year.”