During his visit to the US, Israeli president Isaac Herzog presented images confirming Russia’s use of Iranian kamikaze drones (the HESA Shahed-136 loitering munition autonomous swarm pusher-prop aerial drones disguised as Russian Geran-2 UAVs) against Ukraine. He also announced that Israel had secret intelligence it was willing to share. The Jerusalem Post and The Times of Israel quoted the president in anticipation of further proof. A TASS news piece posted at 01:21 on October 26 reported that Herzog had already shared the images with US officials during his presentation at the Atlantic Council.
“Iran flatly denied supplying drones to the war against Ukraine. I want to show you two slides that unequivocally prove that Iranian drones are participating in the war in Ukraine against innocent Ukrainian civilians.”
According to the Israeli leader, the country’s Ministry of Defense has detected fragments of unmanned aerial vehicles in Ukraine that are identical to those developed in Iran. The first slide compares Iranian Shahed-136 drones and the fragments of ostensibly Russian Geran-2 drones discovered in Ukraine. The second slide demonstrates the engines of the two devices.
The engine of an Iranian drone presented at a fair in Iran, October 2014
The engine of a drone that crashed in Ukraine during the war in 2022
“Despite Iran’s denials and attempt to obscure their Iranian origins by adding Russian stamps, it is clear that the drone stabilizers are identical in their structure, dimensions, and numbering,” Herzog’s office states.
Iranian-made Shahed-136 UAVs prepared for launch at military drills in Iran, December 2021
A Geran-2 drone shot down in Ukraine
“Iran, while of course denying these slides, keeps supplying these drones and they are attacking all over Ukraine with suicide drones, special UAVs that are meant to create havoc in a large scope.
This is only the tip of the iceberg of a lot of intelligence information, including, of course, clandestine intel. We are able to show this, but one has to assume: Iran is participating in the war in Ukraine, taking an action against the people of Ukraine and creating enormous suffering and pain.»
The president also insisted that the world must speak to Iran in “a tough and uncompromising language”.
“As we are repeatedly discovering, for every hesitation about Iran—there is a price. In recent months, the Iranian regime has shown the world its true colors, which Israel has known for years. Nobody can ignore that the Iranian regime uses violence against its own citizens and is brutally suppressing the hijab protests with blatant human rights violations.”
In October, Dr. Nachman Shai, the Israeli Minister of Diaspora Affairs, announced that “the time has come for Ukraine to receive military aid [from Israel] as well, just as the USA and NATO countries provide.” He made a call for supplying Ukraine with weapons upon learning that Russia was buying ballistic missiles from Iran. As the minister summarized, “there is no longer any doubt where Israel should stand in this bloody conflict”. On October 18, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba submitted a proposal to President Zelensky to cut diplomatic ties with Iran “considering the vast destruction that Iranian drones have inflicted upon Ukraine's civilian infrastructure and the death and suffering they have brought upon its people”.
Judging by the published images of Geran-2 UAVs, they are the exact replicas of Iranian drones, leading us to two possibilities: Russia has either procured a batch of suicide drones from Iran or is manufacturing them domestically with an Iranian license. However, neither country admits to the deal. As The Washington Post reports, Tehran has supplied Moscow with Mohajer-6 and Shahed series drones, capable of carrying ammunition for attacks on radars, artillery, and other military targets. According to Ukrainian media, the shot-down Shahed-136 UAVs were disguised as Geran-2. A second such munition was taken down in September. Pro-Russian Telegram channels have also confirmed that Russia could be using drones purchased in Iran or assembled under an Iranian license.