According to current and former U.S. officials who have been briefed on the classified intelligence, Iran has sent trainers to occupied Ukraine to help the Russians overcome problems with the fleet of drones that they purchased from Tehran. This is another signal of the growing closeness between Iran and Russia since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
Many of the drones have been stationed at the Russian military installation in Crimea ever since they were supplied from Iran, and this is where the Iranian trainers are conducting their operations from. The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, a component of the Iranian armed forces that the United States government classifies as a terrorist group, is providing the training here.
In recent days, Iranian drones have become an essential weapon for Russia, which has employed them as part of the sweeping attacks throughout Ukraine on electrical infrastructure and other civilian targets. Russia’s deployment of these drones has made them a key element of the Russian military’s arsenal. It would seem that the deployment of Iranian trainers coincides with an increase in the use of drones in Ukraine, which is indicative of a greater engagement on the part of Iran in the conflict.
According to Mick Mulroy, a former senior Pentagon official and veteran C.I.A. officer, the act of sending drones and trainers to Ukraine has “enmeshed Iran extensively into the battle on the Russian side and implicated Tehran directly in operations that have killed and maimed people.”
Even if they are just acting as trainers and tactical advisors in Ukraine, Mr. Mulroy believes that this is a significant development. The human rights body of the United Nations has indicated that attacks on civilian targets that are carried out on purpose may constitute crimes against humanity.
When Iran sent the first batch of drones to Russia, the Russian operators piloted them incorrectly, which made the drones unusable. According to authorities from the United States, mechanical concerns also contributed to the aircraft being grounded and restricted their effectiveness.
Initially, Russia had its people undergo training on drones in Iran. Iran was the training location. But as the issues persisted, Iran decided to deploy its trainers to Crimea, according to current and former officials, who talked on the condition of anonymity to discuss secret topics. They did so in order to protect the confidentiality of the information they were discussing.
According to the authorities, the Iranian soldiers are not near the front lines and are instead assigned to teach the Russians how to operate the drones. This training is taking place distance from the conflict zone. It is unclear if the trainers themselves are operating any of the planes in any capacity. The exact number of trainers that Iran has sent was not immediately evident.
The United States has stated that Russia’s reliance on Iranian drones is evidence that Western sanctions have been successful in cutting off Moscow from international markets. This has caused Russia to struggle with its domestic arms production and has reduced the number of options available to Russia for purchasing weapons on the open market.
Following the sale of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to the Russian government, the United States government imposed additional sanctions on individuals and Iranian companies that were involved in the construction and design of the aircraft, in addition to companies that were involved in the transport of the aircraft to Russia.
Some of the Iranian cargo flights that have been labelled by the United States are Boeing 747s that originated in the United States. These planes have been monitored publicly and recorded as they have flown into and out of Moscow in the last few weeks. There was no indication in any of the film or satellite photos that The New York Times studied as to what the planes were dumping in Russia. The Iranian delegation to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a communication that was sent to them.
Earlier information on the Iranian trainers’ deployment was presented in an article by The Daily Mirror.
Iran has sent members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to fight in other countries’ ongoing conflicts. For instance, according to Mr. Mulroy, the organization’s leaders have mostly refrained from engaging in direct combat in Yemen and have instead functioned as instructors and advisors for the Houthi proxy force that they control.
Multiple persons have been murdered as a result of attacks carried out by Iranian drones in Kyiv this week. On Monday, a kamikaze drone produced in Iran collided with a residential structure and detonated upon contact. The collision resulted in the deaths of a young couple, one of whom was a lady who was expecting her sixth month of pregnancy.
Additionally, the drones have been utilized to launch attacks on various components of the nation’s electrical power infrastructure. As the days become colder, Russian President Vladimir V. Putin looks to be set on bringing down the electrical infrastructure of Ukraine, which will leave the civilian population in the country in the dark.
On the front lines of the military combat in Kherson or Donbas, the drones would be used more successfully than in any other location. According to military specialists, Mr. Putin’s use of these weapons on civilian targets demonstrates that he is making desperate attempts to undermine the fighting spirit of the Ukrainian people.
Mason Clark, a Russian military analyst at the Institute for the Study of War, said that the Russians are wasting very high-end munitions, their cruise missiles, and the drones provided by the Iranians, in these sporadic attacks on civilian and infrastructure targets that aren’t really doing much lasting damage and are also not in any way going to force Ukraine to surrender. “These sporadic attacks on civilian and infrastructure targets aren’t really doing much lasting damage and are also not in any way going