Beyond Drones, Russia Might Also Purchase Missiles From Iran To Use In Ukraine

Dr. E.C. Beuck

Since August, Russia has been purchasing and using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), often referred to as drones, produced by Iran to launch strikes against civilian and military targets in Ukraine. As things stand, several hundred have been delivered to Russian forces, with as many as 2000 being ordered by Russia according to Ukrainian estimates
. Despite the long ranges of the drone types purchased from Iran, their overall slow speed has made it possible for Ukrainian defenses and military forces to shoot a significant number of them down before they are able to reach their targets. Regardless of these successes by Ukraine, the fact remains that Russia is still raining havoc down on the population of Ukraine.

These strikes, especially against civilian infrastructure, seem to be in reaction to the setbacks they have been suffering against the Armed Forces of Ukraine, as well as speculated depletions of Russian stockpiles of long-range precision missiles. The drones also make sense from a monetary standpoint as well, as the Iranian drones range in estimated cost from $20,000 to $50,000, which is far cheaper than cruise missiles with price tags of several million each.

While Russia continues to purchase and use the drones it is sourcing from Iran, there is now concern in the United States that Putin’s regime might seek to procure ballistic missiles from Iran as well. If Russia should follow through with purchasing ballistic missiles, and deploy them against targets in Ukraine, the consistent advance on the ground by the Armed Forces of Ukraine might be severely hampered. Already aware of this potential issue, President Zelensky has called for greater air defense assistance, which Ukraine’s seem to be focused on delivering. The question then becomes whether Ukraine gets enough air defenses to counter any new weapons attained by Russia from Iran, or if Russia will be able to hamper Ukrainian operations to gain breathing room in the territories it still occupies.

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Holding a PhD in Political Science, I write about current events and on political topics related to international relations, international law, conflict both between and within states, and the interactions between technology and politics.

Washington, DC

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