Russia’s making mistakes all over, and they’re doing it together with Iran this time.
Iranian personnel are now being sent to Russia for more intensive training after failed deployment of their “Kamikaze” drones. Unlike the HIMARS, which has used the war as the best marketing platform, the Shahed-136s were missing their targets. A Senior US official said that the Russians were erroneously operating the multi-million dollar drones they purchased from Iran. John F. Kirby, a National Security Council official, also said in a briefing that Iran trainers were being sent to Crimea after noticing “operator and system failures early on.”
“Either they weren’t being piloted appropriately and properly and were failing to reach targets,” Mr. Kirby said. “Or the systems themselves were suffering failures and not performing to the standards that, apparently, the customers expected. So the Iranians decided to move in some trainers and some technical support to help the Russians use them with better lethality.”
Because the drones were not landing where they should be, the Ukrainians retrieved some of them, and the US has also started an analysis of the drones. According to the latest investigation, the Shahed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) were trying to target Kyivs core power structures and killed four civilians. A Ukrainian official said that drones were being launched from three military bases in Crimea and one from Belarus.
The White House confirmed that Tehran advisers have been dispatched to assist Russian operators, proving that Iran is now actively participating in the war.
“Both Iran and Russia continue to lie about it,” Kirby said, but “the fact is this: The Iranians are now directly engaged on the ground and through the provision of weapons … killing civilians and destroying infrastructure” in Ukraine. He said the United States, along with partners and allies, is working to address sanctions on Iran’s transfer of drones and to ensure Ukraine has air defense systems to shoot them down.
Personnel close to the investigation told Washington Post that they wished to be anonymous. However, they confirmed that the Shahed is definitely large but has its deficiencies too. For example, it flies really low and appears to have few metallic parts. This makes it difficult to detect with traditional radars and other sensors.
According to Ukrainian officials, their soldiers have retrieved about 220 Shahed-136 drones since September.
“We all have to understand that we all have to put our efforts to that. To understand how it works, and to understand how to take it down,” Estonian Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur said. “Because it’s not only the question of Ukraine at war at the moment, but it’s a question of all of us who are in the situation where we are.”
‘Russian Terrorists’ Tries to Attack Dams
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky is again calling out to international leadership to intervene as Russia starts to push toward civilian infrastructure. In his address to the European Council, Zelensky said they are facing a new “escalation in Russian terror.” Russians have started mining the dam at the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant, affecting not only Ukrainian power sources but also European supply.
“You know that Ukraine offered its help so that we could all get through this winter together in better conditions. In particular, we started exporting electricity to the EU – and this was a very significant contribution to Europe’s energy and price stability.”
“However, such help of ours became an obvious target of Russian terrorists. Unable to use energy resources as a weapon, the current leadership of Russia has given the order to turn the energy system itself into a battlefield. The consequences of this are very dangerous – again for all of us in Europe.”
As of writing, a third of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure has been damaged, if not entirely, by cruise missiles (some by Iranian drones). This limits Ukraine’s ability to export electricity and support the EU’s energy crisis. This has become even more problematic as the entire Northern region is about to face winter.
“Russia must pay for this terror – and this must be reflected in the ninth EU sanctions package. Iran must be deprived of any possibility or even desire to supply such drones to anyone.”
Lastly, Zelensky calls for a collective decision on Belarus. He is inviting the European community to send international observers to the border of Ukraine and Belarus “to monitor the security situation.”
“An international observation mission to the Kakhovka HPP is needed. It is necessary to return the Ukrainian personnel there and ensure immediate and professional demining of the aggregates and the dam.”