Iran Trains Russian Soldiers in Drone Warfare

Courtesy of Anatoly Gray (Flickr CC0)

The U.S. Pentagon officially announced that Iran joined the war in Ukraine, fighting for Russia. Additional sources affirmed what was suspected: Not only have the Iranian special forces supplied the Kremlin with drones, but their troops are in Ukraine and Belarus, teaching Russian soldiers how to use the device to kill innocent civilians.

In September, Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters that the Iranian troops were in Crimea. He confirmed they were there to assist the Russian military in conducting drone strikes in Ukraine.

“‘The Iranian regime [is providing] military support for Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified war of aggression against Ukraine’ via ‘development and delivery of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to Russia,'” affirmed Andrew Rettman for EU Observer.

A Ukrainian newspaper provided further confirmation of the Iran-Russia drone partnership. The Kyiv Independent news desk wrote that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) were training Russian troops in Belarus. Moreover, Ukraine’s Special Forces Operations said the IRGC coordinates loitering munitions launches.

Moscow denies using Iranian drones, and Iran says it is not selling any to them. But, the IRGC troops are training Russian soldiers, and physical evidence shows that they entered into an agreement with the middle eastern country.

According to Andrew E. Kramer’s September 18 report for The New York Times, “a senior Ukrainian military officer said drone remnants were found on the ground during the counteroffensive that Kyiv began in the northeast earlier this month.”

Iran-Russia Drone Partnership

While investigators dug through the debris, they found a fragment of an Iranian-made drone. The piece revealed the truth: The drone was labeled Belgorod, which is “a reference to a Russian region repeatedly hit by Ukrainian shelling.”

“PBS News Weekend” host Geoff Bennett said the drone’s label is “the latest evidence of an evolving partnership between Russia and Iran.” Their denial is “at odds with the U.S. assessment.”

Courtesy of (Wikimedia CC0)

Experts believe Russia added the HESA Shahed-136, Iran’s kamikaze attack drones, in early September.

Suspicions that Iran was planning to sell Russia began in July. ABC News posted two YouTube video reports discussing the Iran-Russia meeting and confirming that the middle-eastern country will aid Putin’s war on July 12 and 21, 2022, respectively.

During the October 20 press gaggle, U.S. National Security Council (NSC) Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby reminded reporters that the Biden administration began to warn that Iran would be planning to sell UAVs to Russia for use against Ukraine in July. He further told them that last month Russia transferred the loitering munitions from Iran into Crimea, Kirby added.

Ukrainian Air Force Command spokesman Yurii Ilhnat reported the Command had shot down more than 300 kamikaze drones since September 13 in Kupiansk, Kharkiv region.

Kamikaze Drones

According to Ukinform, Ilhnat talked about how the Russians are using drones. He said: “The enemy uses them in waves. Obviously, not every day.”

According to Foreign Policy reporter Jack Detsch, the Iran-made drones cost $20,000 and carry a warhead of about 80 pounds.

Courtesy of Yuriy Lapitskiy (Flickr CC0)

Several UVAs are launched simultaneously from a rack on the back of a truck. Then, Iran’s kamikaze aircraft crashes into a target and detonates its payload.

The Shahed-136 weighs about 440 pounds and has a wingspan of eight feet. These Iranian-made drones can maintain cruise speeds of roughly 95 mph.

Detsch added that these inexpensive UAVs have low-tech two-stroke engines akin to lawnmowers. “They’re not going to sneak up on anyone, either: Russian troops have nicknamed them mopeds” because of the motor’s buzzing noise.

Opposition Statements and Sanctions

NSC Strategic Communications Coordinator Kirby said the United States had imposed new sanctions on Iran and Russia, including on an air transportation company for its involvement in the shipment of Iranian UAVs to Russia. Additionally, the U.S. had sanctioned companies and an individual that was involved in the research, manufacture, and procurement of Iranian UAVs and components.

  • NATO Deputy Secretary-General Mircea Geoana criticized Iran’s actions. He called on Tehran to stop participating in Russia’s invasion.
  • According to The New York Times, China and India’s leaders rebuked Russia for using the Shahed-136 drones.
  • U.S. Brig. Gen. Ryder called out Iran for its continued “export of terror, not only in the Middle East region, but in Ukraine.”
  • Israeli President Issac Herzog declared: “Once again, Iran proves it cannot be trusted, and wherever there’s killing, hate and misery, Iran is present.”

The European Union took action against three individuals and one entity responsible for the Iranian-built Shahed-136 drone deliveries. The EU also prepared further sanctions against four previously sanctioned Iranian entities.

Written by Cathy Milne-Ware


The New York Times: Russia Deploys Iranian Attack Drones, Ukrainian Military Says; by Andrew E. Kramer
Foreign Policy: ‘All It Takes is One’: Iran Gives Russia Help From the Air; by Jack Detsch
VOA: Pentagon: Iranian Military in Ukraine, Helping Russia Launch Drone Attacks; by Carla Babb, and contributors Margaret Besheer, Patsy Widaksuwara, and Jeff Seldin
PBS: What is the significance of Russia attacking Ukraine with Iranian drones? By Geoff Bennett
Kyiv Independent: Special Operations Forces: Iranian drone instructors, officers spotted in Belarus.
EU Observer: Iran has joined Russia axis on Ukraine war, EU says; by Andrew Rettman
Ukinform: Ukrainian forces down over 300 Shahed-136 kamikaze drones since Sept 13

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Anatoly Gray’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
First Inset Image by Courtesy of Wikimedia – Creative Commons License
Second Inset Image Courtesy of Yuriy Lapitskiy’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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