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Iranians trained Russian forces to launch suicidal drones on Ukrainian cities, says report

Shahid-136 suicidal drone was used outside the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv to target a residential building last week
Photo of Iran's Shahid-136 drone, used by Russian forces in Ukraine, published by the spokesperson for the Odesa Oblast military administration on Telegram, on 12 October 2022 (Screengrab)

Iranian military instructors, believed to be affiliated with the elite force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), were reportedly present on the ground in Ukraine training Russian troops on how to use the suicidal drone known as the Shahid-136. 

According to Ukraine's Center for National Resistance, Iranian military personnel were brought by Russia to the occupied regions of Kherson and Crimea to train Russian forces on using the kamikaze drones.

The Center for National Resistance is an umbrella organisation that has been coordinating the guerrilla fight against the Russian occupation since March. Serhiy Bratchuk, spokesperson for the Odesa Oblast military administration, published a photo of Shahid-136 drone's on his Telegram page.

It was reported that the Shahid-136 suicidal drone was used outside the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv to target a residential building last week.

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The Ukrainian government said the Iranian instructors were based in the Black Sea village of Zalizniy Port, Hladivtsi in the Kherson region, and in Dzhankoi in occupied and annexed Crimea.

The Center for National Resistance said that the Iranians taught the Russians how to launch Shaid-136 drones on Ukrainian civilian targets, including strikes on Mykolaiv and Odesa.

Iran denied it had supplied drones to Russia.

However, the National Resistance said, "Iran helps the aggressor not only with equipment, but also with people."

"We will remind you that the Russians place their military equipment and personnel on the territory of schools and hospitals, using children and patients as human shields," it added.

According to the US-based Institute for the Study of War, the Iranian instructors could be affiliated with elite units of the IRGC.

“The IRGC is notably the primary operator of Iran‘s drone inventory, so these Iranian instructors are likely IRGC or IRGC-affiliated personnel,” the institute said in its daily assessment of the Russian offensive campaign on Wednesday. 

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