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Putin’s Problem: Russia Is Running Out of Iranian Drones to Attack Ukraine

Kyiv, Ukraine
Image of Russian TOS-2 Weapons. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Russia’s Stockpile of Iranian-Made Drones Nearly Exhausted: Ukraine will be once again plunged into darkness following a fresh wave of Russian strikes aimed at Kyiv and other urban centers, as well as energy facilities across the country.

Russia: Running Out of Drones from Iran?

Every region of Ukraine was facing emergency power cuts in the afternoon attacks on Wednesday. As nighttime approached, it was unlikely power would be restored to much of the country.

Among those killed in Wednesday’s attack was a newborn baby, as a Russian missile hit a maternity hospital near the city of Zaporizhzhia.

The only “good news” – if that can even fairly be used to describe the situation – is that Britain’s Ministry of Defence has said that it believes such attacks could be winding down in the coming days, as Russia has nearly exhausted its current stock of Iranian-made unmanned aerial vehicles (UAS), and it could be weeks or longer before the supplies are replenished.

Russia’s own supply of missiles has been dwindling, and it could be even longer for the ordnance to be replenished.


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Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said via a post on Twitter that Russia’s missile stockpile has been dwindling, and he further shared an illustration showing Russia’s high-precision missile arsenal as of November 18.

“Four enemies of the russian missile arsenal: brilliant Ukrainian air defense forces; inept russian missile forces; sanctions; time. Let’s demilitarize the terrorist state to live in peace!”

Aerial Attacks

Recent Russian attacks against Ukraine have included a combination of UAVs and traditional reusable armed systems. Since September, Russia has launched hundreds of drones to strike Ukraine, largely targeting tactical military facilities but also the Ukrainian power grid and even medical facilities. The goal has likely been to beat the Ukrainian people into submission as the Kremlin’s forces have been driven back across the country.

“Russia likely conceived of the UAV campaign to make up for its severe shortage of cruise missiles, but the approach has had limited success. Most UAVs launched have been neutralised,” Britain’s defense ministry announced via social media.

“No OWA UAVs strikes have been publicly reported since around 17 November 2022. Russia has likely very nearly exhausted its current stock, but will probably seek resupply,” the ministry added. “Russia can probably procure UAVs from overseas more rapidly than it can manufacture new cruise missiles domestically.”

Kyiv’s forces have seen some success in shooting down the Iranian-made Shahed-136 drone – the same type which was used against a Liberian-flagged freighter off the coast of Oman last week.

Iran Shahed-136 Drone

Shahed-136. Image Credit: YouTube Screenshot.

Ukraine has been receiving military assistance from the west, while Russia has turned to Iran to obtain drones, and earlier this year, Moscow was even forced to seek aid from North Korea – acquiring artillery shells from the Hermit Kingdom. It truly emphasizes how badly the Kremlin was prepared for the conflict.

A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,000 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.

Written By

Expert Biography: A Senior Editor for 1945, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,000 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.

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