The Islamic Republic of Iran has added a few things to its delivery list when sending its kamikaze drones to Russia, which has used the UAVs in its war against Ukraine this past year.
In addition to the drones, it turns out that Iran has also been secretly supplying bullets, rockets and mortar shells to Russia — and Tehran plans to send more, according to a report Wednesday published by Sky News. Russia allegedly paid cash for the supplies, thus bypassing western sanctions on both Moscow and Tehran.
It is believed that Russian forces in Ukraine are running low on supplies.
According to a security source who spoke with the news outlet, the ammunition and ordnance were stowed on two Russian-flagged cargo ships that sailed in January from an Iranian port heading for Russia via the Caspian Sea.
According to the Marine Traffic maritime shipping tracker, the two ships were spotted January 9 at the Iranian port of Amirabad on the Caspian Sea; the Musa Jalil apparently sailed from the port on January 10, with the Begey following a few hours later.
The two vessels arrived at the Russian port of Astrakhan on January 27, and remained until February 3, according to the tracking data.
Between the two, the vessels carried approximately 100 million bullets, 300,000 mortar shells, and an undetermined number of rockets in some 200 containers, according to the report.
The bullets were of varying sizes, to be used in pistols, assault rifles and machine guns. The other munitions allegedly included grenade launcher ammunition — subsonic shells — in 40 mm (1.57 in) caliber for grenade launchers, 107 mm anti-tank rockets and mortar shells of different sizes, as well as artillery rockets and armor shells.
In addition, there were close to 10,000 flak jackets and helmets on board, according to the report.
“Russia continues to use Iran as a ‘rear base’,” the security source told Sky News.
“Iran sent two cargo ships to the combat zone in Ukraine, carrying approximately 200 new shipping containers that contained ammunition for the Russian fighting in Ukraine,” the source told the news outlet.
According to the report, Iran intends to supply Russia with more munitions as well. Thus far, however, the Islamic Republic has not shipping any of its ballistic missiles to the combat zone, possibly because Iranian ballistic missile deliveries to Russia could violate a United Nations Security Council resolution banning such shipments.