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Some of Putin’s invasion force ‘fled in apparent panic’ when hit by Ukrainian counter-offensive

Putin’s army ‘sourcing’ weapons from North Korea and more rogue states, says UK


ladimir Putin’s military is increasingly having to get weapons from North Korea and other heavily sanctioned states as its stocks run low, British defence chiefs said on Wednesday.

Moscow is also believed to be sourcing military equipment from Iran.

Confirmation of this appeared to come from the reported shooting down of an Iranian drone.

In its latest intelligence update, the Minstry of Defence in London said: “Russia has highly likely deployed Iranian uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAV) in Ukraine for the first time.

“On 13 September 2022, Ukrainian officials reported that their forces had shot down a Shahed-136 UAV near Kupiansk, in the area of Ukraine’s successful ongoing offensive.

“The Shahed-136 is a one-way attack UAV with a claimed range of 2,500 kilometres. Similar Iranian-manufactured systems have likely been used in attacks in the Middle East, including against the oil tanker MT MERCER STREET in July 2021.”

The briefing added: “Russia is almost certainly increasingly sourcing weaponry from other heavily sanctioned states like Iran and North Korea as its own stocks dwindle.

“The loss of a Shahed-136 near the front lines suggests there is a realistic possibility that Russia is attempting to use the system to conduct tactical strikes rather than against more strategic targets farther into Ukrainian territory.”

Britain, the US, Ukraine and other allies are fighting an information war against Russia, so their briefings need to be treated with caution, though are far more believable than the propaganda issued by the Kremlin.

Meanwhile, Ukraine accused Germany on Tuesday of ignoring its pleas for Leopard tanks and Marder infantry fighting vehicles to fight Mr Putin’s occupation force.

Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister, accused Berlin of instead only offering “abstract fears and excuses”.

But Germany’s defence minister Christine Lambrecht said no country had supplied Ukraine with Western-built infantry fighting vehicles or main battle tanks and that there was agreement her country will “not take such action unilaterally”.

More than 200 Warsaw Pact-designed tanks from Poland and the Czech Republic have been delivered to Ukraine.

The UK has donated more than 100 armoured vehicles to Kyiv, including Mastiff patrol vehicles, as well as thousands of anti-tank missiles, drones and several M270 multiple-launch rocket systems.

America is by far the biggest donor to Ukraine’s war effort, with an $8.79 billion (£7.5 billion) support package.

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