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Source: Newsweek

May 28, 2024

Russia Deploying Iranian Glide Bombs Against Ukraine

By Brendan Cole

Moscow's military cooperation with Tehran is deepening according to a German report which says that Iran has supplied Russia with a glide bomb that was intended for an attack on Ukraine.

Over the course of the war started by President Vladimir Putin, Iran has provided Russia with Shahed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) which have caused havoc across Ukraine by targeting infrastructure and civilian targets.

Iran also reportedly gave Russia the technical information to make its own versions of the so-called kamikaze drones in the city of Yelabuga, Tatarstan region, which was targeted by Ukraine's long-range drones in April.

But Julian Röpcke, an open data analyst with the publication Bild, has reported that Iran's help for Putin's war that so far has included providing artillery and tank ammunition—as well as drones—has extended to its latest guided aerial bombs.

A clip posted to social media was taken by a local resident approaching a Mohajer-6 drone as it lay in the middle of a field.

The drone's registration number, ER-858, indicated its Iranian origins, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said, adding that Russia was using these UAVs in 2022, as they did not have their own long-range unmanned aerial systems.

Röpcke said that the video from Russia's Kursk region where the UAV had crashed, showed that the drone was carrying the latest Iranian guided aerial bombs, the Qaem-5, which were put into service in Iran in 2019.

"Judging from everything, the drone was supposed to attack the Sumy region, but for unknown reasons, it crashed," Röpcke said.

The Russian Armed Forces have not used the high-precision Qaem-5 in Ukraine before and his discovery indicates a "new level" of military cooperation between Tehran and Moscow, Röpcke said in a Telegram post.

There are four versions of the Qaem, sometimes written as Ghaem, which include one which is laser guided, another that is equipped with an infrared (IR) seeker, while the larger Qaem-5 and Qaem-9s use TV guidance.

Russia is increasingly using glide bombs, which are standard bombs modified to include wings and navigation systems that allow for a long-range gliding path to a target.

Newsweek has contacted the Iranian and Russian Foreign Ministries for comment.

Last week, the U.S. warned Iran of a response from the international community if it provided ballistic missiles to Moscow following a Reuters report that the Islamic Republic had shipped surface-to-surface ballistic missiles to Russia.

A deal was struck at the end of last year and the shipments began in early January, an Iranian source told the news agency.

White House National Security spokesperson John Kirby said the U.S. has not seen confirmation of the missile transfer, but, if proven, said Washington would take the matter to the U.N. Security Council and impose extra sanctions on Iran.

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