Russia's idea in Ukraine: capture Western weapons, send them to Iran and make your own version

Few could have expected on February 24, 2022, when the Kremlin troops advanced towards eastern Ukraine, that the war that began that day would end up unleashing a violent geopolitical storm, including an economic, energy and diplomatic storm. Or that 13 months later the conflict would remain entrenched. And without looking to resolve it in the short term. With this backdrop, we now know a new chapter: the peculiar strategy applied from Moscow with the help of Iran.

Everything to strengthen your muscle and gain support.

What happened to my weapons? Or rather, where have they been taken? That is —according to the latest news published by CNN—the question asked by some experts who closely follow the war. According to the chain, over the last year officials from the US, NATO and other Western countries have seen on several occasions how the Russians seized weapons that Ukrainian troops were forced to abandon on the battlefield.

The question is quite pertinent because the US or NATO have been providing equipment for the defense of Ukraine.

With an eye on Tehran. The answer seems quite clear, at least according to information collected by CNN, the second most influential news channel in the United States. Moscow has been sending weapons and equipment captured from the battlefield to Iran, where the pieces end up dismantled and subjected to analysis. Among the material seized by the Kremlin would be small weapons, such as systems Javelin tank destroyer either anti-aircraft Stinger.

And that for what? For various purposes. Technical and diplomatic. By sending Western weapons to Iran, the Russian authorities could seek Tehran’s support in the war in Ukraine. The objective: to alleviate, at least in part, the effect of the severe sanctions that the Kremlin has suffered for months and its loss of teams in the contest. Both of them make it difficult for him to produce the weapons and ammunition he needs if he wants to maintain his military pulse with kyiv.

The material collected on the battlefield is, after all, much more than just second-hand anti-tank missiles. With them, Tehran can apply a skill that he has already shown to handle with skill: the reverse engineeringultimately allowing you to create your versions of western weapons.

Don’t say abandoned weapon, better say “model”. It is not known whether Tehran has successfully reverse-engineered “made in the USA” weapons that Russia seizes in Ukraine. What Iranian technicians have shown is that they are not bad at developing weapons based on seized equipment created in other countries. This has already happened with the Toophan anti-tank missile, which was manufactured in the 1970s based on the BGM-71 TOW. They showed the same ability a few years ago after capturing a drone “Sentinel” RQ-170 Manufactured by Lockheed Martin.

The development of better weapons is not only of interest to the Kremlin, of course. “They (in Iran) reverse-engineered the TOW anti-tank guided missile and have since proliferated it among the Houthis and hezbollah. Iran could do the same with a Stinger, which could threaten both civil and military aviation throughout the region. Hamas or Hezbollah could use a reverse-engineered Javelin to threaten an Israeli Merkava tank,” explains Jonathan Lord to CNN.

How serious is the problem? In the opinion of US officials it would not be a widespread or systematic practice, although it is not easy to trace. kyiv also reports any US-contributed equipment that ends up falling into Russian hands. CNN itself speaks of the capture of “some” of the weapons.

What the North American power has appreciated is an increase in military cooperation between Moscow and Tehran, harmony that supposedly includes the exchange of material. According to details the spokesman of the White House National Security Council, John Kirby, since last summer the Islamic Republic has supplied hundreds of drones that Russia has used in Ukraine.

Watching for possible deviations. After CNN published his information, the Pentagon acknowledged that the country continues to monitor the possible diversion by Russia of weapons and equipment provided to Ukraine by the US or NATO. “While it is something we will continue to monitor, we have nothing more to add to Dr. colin kahl on the subject”, they recently explained to EFE from the US administration. During that speech, Kahl, undersecretary, explained that “if any of these systems have been diverted, it has been by Russians who have captured material on the battlefield ” .

Quid pro quo military version. “Iran has sent artillery and tank ammunition to Russia for use in Ukraine and Russia is planning to cooperate with Iran to obtain more military equipment,” incident Kirby, who adds that in return Moscow would have offered the Islamic republic of the Persian Gulf fighter-bombers, missiles, electronic and anti-aircraft equipment. “Iran is also looking to buy more military equipment from Russia, including combat helicopters, radars and YAK-130 aircraft,” the US high command stressed.

On Magnet: The countries with the largest number of main battle tanks, gathered in this illustrative graphic

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Varun Kumar

Varun Kumar is a freelance writer working on news website. He contributes to Our Blog and more. Wise also works in higher ed sustainability and previously in stream restoration. He loves running, trees and hanging out with her family.

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