Russia in talks to buy ballistic missiles from Iran: reports
The secretary of Russia’s National Security Council is visiting Iran this week, probably to discuss the sale of Iranian ballistic missiles to Russia, according to the US-based Institute for the Study of War.
The secretary of Russia’s National Security Council arrived in Iran on Tuesday, probably to discuss the sale of Iranian ballistic missiles to Russia, according to the Institute for the Study of War, a US think tank. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Nikolai Patrushev arrived in Tehran on Tuesday, the ISW reported in its latest analysis of the war in Ukraine, published on Tuesday night.
The Russian Security Council said that Patrushev „will hold scheduled Russian-Iranian consultations on issues of security with experts of the security councils and representatives of a number of ministries and departments of the two countries,” the Ukrainska Pravda website reported, citing Russia’s Interfax news agency.
The ISW, a US think tank, wrote that Patrushev had come to Iran “likely to discuss the potential sale of Iranian ballistic missiles to Russia.”
The US experts observed that Iran’s state Nour News Agency announced Patrushev’s arrival in an English-language tweet, “stating that Iranian Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Secretary Ali Shamkhani invited Patrushev” and adding that “Patrushev will also meet with other high-ranking Iranian political and economic officials to discuss Russo-Iranian cooperation.”
Russia seeks to covertly acquire munitions for use in Ukraine
Meanwhile, the Kremlin was „continuing efforts to covertly acquire munitions for use in Ukraine to mitigate the effects of international sanctions and backfill Russia’s ongoing depletion of domestic munitions stockpiles,” the ISW also reported.
The US analysts cited a report by British outlet Sky News on November 8 that “the Kremlin flew 140 million euros in cash and a selection of captured British-made NLAW anti-tank missiles, US-made Javelin anti-tank missiles, and a Stinger anti-aircraft missile to Tehran on August 20 in exchange for 160 additional Shahed-136 drones for use in Ukraine.”
The ISW said that, according to a report by the Ukrainian Resistance Center on November 8, “Tehran continues to supply Moscow with Mohajer, Arash, and Shahed-type drones by air and sea via both Iranian state-owned and privately-owned entities.”
The Ukrainian Resistance Center also reported that “due to failures of the Russian military-industrial complex, Russian military leaders are continuing their efforts to procure dual-use (military and non-military use) goods such as computer chips, quadcopters, night vision devices, and bulletproof vests from Turkey and are using cryptocurrency transactions to avoid purchase tracking,” according to the US experts.
The ISW concluded: “Taken in tandem, these reports indicate that the Kremlin seeks to circumvent sanctions by engaging in quid-pro-quo and under-the-table negotiations with foreign actors.”
Russia’s Wagner Group 'continuing to exaggerate’ territorial gains
The ISW also reported that the forces of Russia’s private military company the Wagner Group “are continuing to exaggerate their claimed territorial gains in Donbas to further distinguish themselves from proxy and conventional Russian forces.”
The US analysts noted that on Monday Russian sources began reporting that “a detachment of Wagner forces and troops of the Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) 6th Cossack Regiment broke through Ukrainian defensive lines in Bilohorivka, Luhansk Oblast,” in the eastern Donbas region.
However, on Tuesday “Russian coverage largely shifted,” with Russian bloggers “claiming that reports of the 6th Cossack Regiment’s involvement in operations near Bilohorivka are false and that Wagner troops were solely responsible for purported gains,” the ISW wrote.
According to the Washington-based think tank, the Wagner Group has previously taken sole credit for Russian gains around the city of Bakhmut in the Donbas, “in order to bolster their own reputation as the Kremlin’s favoured strike force, despite not being the only force deployed in the area.”
“Wagner will likely use Bilohorivka to accomplish a similar effect,” the ISW predicted.
Ukraine won’t give up ‘a single centimetre of land’: Zelensky
Meanwhile, Ukrainian officials said Russian forces were focusing their efforts on capturing all of Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region, Polish state news agency PAP reported.
President Volodymyr Zelensky stated in his video address to the nation on Tuesday night: “The situation is difficult on the entire front. In some areas, brutal positional battles continue, as before, and it is especially difficult – also as before – in the Donetsk region.”
He added: “The activity of the occupiers there remains at an extremely high level – dozens of attacks every day. They suffer extremely large-scale losses, but their order has not changed – to reach the administrative border of the Donetsk region.”
The Ukrainian president vowed: “We do not give up a single centimetre of our land there. And I thank all our heroes who are holding positions in Donbas.”
Also on Tuesday, Ukraine’s Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Malar said in a media interview: “In recent days, the epicentre of combat operations has been the Donetsk direction and the Donetsk region; the opponent hasn’t abandoned plans to seize the territory of the entire province.”
The ISW reported on Tuesday night that Russian forces continued offensive operations around the city of Bakhmut, in the Avdiivka-Donetsk City area and in the western Donetsk region.
The US think tank added that Ukrainian forces “likely made marginal gains northwest of Svatove, Luhansk Oblast, and Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces intensified offensive operations toward Kreminna” in the eastern Luhansk province.
Crimean Bridge unlikely to be restored before September 2023
Meanwhile, the UK Ministry of Defence reported on Wednesday that “Russian efforts to repair the Crimean Bridge continue but it is unlikely to be fully operational until at least September 2023.”
According to the British experts, the road bridge was due to be closed on Tuesday „to allow the movement and installation of a replacement 64-metre span.”
“Three more spans will be required to replace the damaged road sections,” the UK Ministry of Defence said.
The UK analysts assessed that “the Crimean Bridge attack has disrupted Russian logistics supplies for Crimea and southern Ukraine, reducing Russia’s ability to move military equipment and troops into the area by rail or road.”
According to the British Ministry of Defence, “the damage to the bridge, the recent attack on the Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol and the probable withdrawal from Kherson all complicate the Russian government’s ability to paint a picture of military success.”