Russian troops being trained by Iran to use deadliest drones yet in Ukraine

Russian troops are reportedly being trained by Iran to use a new type of drone even more lethal than the Kamikaze-style one allegedly used to strike Ukraine this week.

The Iranian-made Shahed-136 is thought to have been used in Monday's (October 17) attacks on major cities including Kyiv, causing at least 11 deaths and destroying critical infrastructure – but Ukraine claims there is worse to come.

"According to preliminary information, the leadership of Iran and the Russian Federation agreed to send advisors and instructors to the territory of the Russian Federation for the use of impact BPLA ['Bezpilotniy Letayuschiy Apparat', a type of unmanned aerial vehicle used for drone strikes]," the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said.

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"In particular, it is known about the preparation of operators already available BPLA 'Shahed-136' and promising BPLA 'Arash-2.'"

Arash-2 drones have been a topic of concern for some time.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said in a report published on October 15 that the new drones are "purportedly faster and more destructive" than the already-lethal Shahed-136.

The report said: "Ukrainian and Russian Telegram channels reported 'leaked' information from unspecified Iranian sources that Russia has purchased an unknown number of Arash-2 drones."

According to Brigadier General Kiomars Heydari, commander of the Iranian ground forces, the Arash-2 drones "have unique long-range capabilities and could target cities in Israel such as Tel Aviv and Haifa from bases in Iran," the ISW reported.

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However, it's not all bad news – the ISW added that while Russia will likely continue to milk its relationship with Iran to "circumvent sanctions," the Arash-2 won't cause a "dramatic change on the battlefield" despite what Iranian military personnel may claim.

Katherine Lawlor, a senior intelligence analyst at the ISW, told Newsweek: "The only reason it would be more effective than the Shahed-136 is if it can go substantially faster, if it can have some kind of steal capabilities.

"I don't have any evidence that that's the case but the Iranians have claimed that it is faster and larger.

"Realistically, effectiveness is based on what you're trying to achieve and the Russians have demonstrated by their targeting that they're using drones to achieve a terror effect on Ukrainian civilians, not to achieve a dramatic change on the battlefield."

The news comes after Ukraine accused Russia of using Shahed-136 drones in a series of fatal strikes earlier this week.

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The models have reportedly been supplied by Iran to Russia and rebranded as Geran-2 drones.

One used in a strike on October 17 was reportedly emblazoned with the words "for Belgorod" written on it, referring to a Russian city used as a staging ground for attacks on Ukraine which came under fire over the weekend.

Ukraine's General Staff of the Armed Forces claimed that the Iranian-made drones had been flying over Ukrainian skies for months, claiming on Wednesday (Oct 19) that more than 200 Iranian-made drones had been shot down in Ukraine over the course of just one month.

Iran continues to deny that it is supplying drones to Russia.

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