“Over the past several weeks, Russian officials have conducted training in Iran as part of an agreement to transfer UAVs from Iran to Russia,” a US official told CNN. Intelligence about the training was recently declassified, the official said.
The Ukrainian military is primarily deploying Turkish-made Bayraktar UAVs to destroy Russian command posts, tanks and surface-to-air missile systems, while the Russians are using home-made Orlan-10 drones for reconnaissance and electronic warfare.
But the US believes the Russians are struggling to replenish their supplies, causing them to turn to Iran for equipment. US officials have argued that the growing relationship between Iran and Russia explains why the US needs to maintain its presence and influence in the Middle East.
Ukraine, meanwhile, has appealed to the US to provide it with more powerful armed drones, such as the Gray Eagle, but the US has been reluctant to provide them for fear that Russia could over-inflate it.