There have been reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin may be receiving assistance from Iran in his “special military campaign” against Ukraine. Back in March, the United Kingdom Defense Ministry that the Iranian kamikaze drones supplied to Russia were not being seen anymore, according to a report from the defense and national security website 19FortyFive. It was suspected that Russia blew through their supply of the killer drones because it has been their favorite choice of weapon.
However, a video resurfaced from last September shows one Ukrainian artilleryman penning a message on a 122mm projectile while it’s in the crate. The soldiers reportedly write these messages and then sell them to make money. Custom messages are written on the munitions as a way to get people to donate. But the projectiles in the video were observed to be Iranian, prompting some to ask how these shells got into Ukrainian hands.
Reports of Ukraine receiving Iranian weapons date back to May 2022, but the source is still unclear. One theory is that weapons the United States seized in Yemen, which were originally for Houthi rebels, were then sent to Ukraine as part of its nearly $200 billion assistance. The amount of weapons being sent to Ukraine is not without a cost, however.
The U.S. has been reportedly experiencing a shortage and so has worked with NATO to intercept ammunition. This would explain the Iranian weapons originally en route to Yemen. But the dates do not align because the published video was dated in September 2022, before the U.S. began to seize weapons. Maya Carlin, an analyst writing for 19FortyFive, speculates that a third party might be involved, or an unreported seizure might have taken place.
What is known for sure is that Iranian weaponry is being used on both sides of the conflict.