Russia’s stocks of Iranian-made drones appear to be running low, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, citing the latest assessments of European officials, who say their use against Ukraine has fallen significantly over the past 10 days.
Prior to that, dozens of drones were regularly deployed against Ukrainian energy infrastructure, though most were shot down by the country’s air defenses. The government in Kyiv said in December that Russia had received an order of 250 drones from Iran, without specifying where it got the information.
One of the sources told Bloomberg Russia was constantly working to obtain more drones as well as other military supplies from Iran and other sources.
In July, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said the US had intelligence indicating that Russia is looking to Iran for UAVs.
A month later, it was reported that Iran had begun training Russians to use its drones, though it was also noted that Russia is experiencing “numerous failures” and technical glitches with the drones it purchased from Iran.
In September, Ukraine reported the first Russian attacks carried out using Iranian-made drones, targeting the south of the country, including the strategic city of Odessa on the Black Sea.
At the start of October, Iranian-made drones were also reportedly used in an attack in the Ukrainian town of Bila Tserkva, southwest of the capital Kyiv.
According to the Bloomberg report, the lull could be due to the fact Russia is saving stocks for future attacks. Group of Seven nations and the European Union have been looking to disrupt the supplies, especially focusing on companies in other countries and Russia’s access to any Western components that could be used for military purposes.
The EU is discussing sanctions and export restrictions on seven Iranian entities this week, including those linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, as it seeks to tighten any potential evasion and circumvention of its sanctions.
Iran initially rejected the claims that it provided drones to Russia but the country’s Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, eventually acknowledged this, though he claimed saying that the deliveries happened before the war started.
Despite this acknowledgement, Iran’s Foreign Ministry in late December blasted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who had criticized Iran for providing Russia with drones, saying his accusations were “baseless”.
“Zelenskyy had better know that Iran’s strategic patience over such unfounded accusations is not endless," the Ministry said.