Russia has likely run out of its kamikaze drones supplied by Iran, the British Defence Ministry said in its daily report.
The intelligence department noted that there had been no reports of Russian troops using Iranian drones to strike Ukraine since 15 February.
At the same time, the Ukrainian Armed Forces said that between late January and early February 2023 at least 24 Shahed-136 drones were downed, while “dozens” more were destroyed in the first few days of 2023, the British intelligence noted.
It can point to the fact that Russia’s stock of these drones has been exhausted and that Moscow will likely look for ways to replenish it.
“Although the weapons do not have a good record in destroying their intended targets,
Russia likely sees them as useful decoys which can divert Ukrainian air defences from more effective Russian cruise missiles,” the report notes.
Bloomberg earlier wrote that Russia’s stock of Iran-made drones were depleting and that their use against Ukraine had dropped significantly in the last few days.
The agency reported that previously dozens of drones were regularly used to target Ukraine’s energy infrastructure even though most of them were downed by air defences.
Earlier, WSJ claimed that Moscow and Tehran had agreed to construct a factory to produce Iranian-technology drones in Russia.
Moreover, sources familiar with the US intelligence community reports told CNN and The Wall Street Journal that China is studying possibilities for exporting drones and ammunition to Russia to fuel Moscow’s war effort against Ukraine. WSJ sources say that China is looking into supplying “artillery and armed drones”. However, no final decision has been made.
Earlier, Der Spiegel reported that Russia was involved in talks about full-scale production of kamikaze drones with China’s Xi’an Bingo Intelligent Aviation Technology. It is claimed that the company agreed to test and send 100 ZT-180 drones to Russia by April.