Russia used Iranian Shahed drones in April strikes on Ukraine: report

Russia used Iranian Shahed drones in April strikes on Ukraine: report
Russia has purchased Iranian drones to use against Ukraine, with a lack of capacity for UAV strikes.
2 min read
24 April, 2023
Shahed drones are one of the stars of the Iranian arsenal [Getty]

Russia used Iranian Shahed drones and other Tehran-made weaponry to strike Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities last month, according to reports.

Moscow recently purchased Shahed-131 and 136 drones from Iran, as it looked to replenish its dwindling arsenal one year after its invasion of Ukraine.

They were used against southern Ukrainian cities from the Sea of Azov between 18 and 19 April, with Ukrainian air defences downing 10 of the drones, the Institute for the Study of War has confirmed.

Kyiv, Odesa, Poltava, Vinnytsia, Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhia, Kharkiv, and Chernihiv were all targeted by Russia between 19 and 21 April, using the drones, the monitor added.

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Shahed drones are equipped with warheads on their nose and detonate on impact causing immense damage.

While rudimentary compared to other armed UAVs they have been desperately sought by Moscow after the success of Turkish-made drones against Russian armour, which were used to decimate entire columns in the early months of the war.

Russian generals were spotted in Iran last year, reportedly inspecting Shahed drones and finalising their purchase.

Iran has admitted to supplying Shahed drones to Russia but insists they were sent before the invasion of Ukraine began in February 2022.

The US has sanctioned six Iranian businessmen over the transfer of drones to Russia.

Moscow is reportedly desperately short of precision weapons while Ukraine air defences are more effective in downing Russian rockets and drones.