Russia’s war in Ukraine, missile strikes cause massive blackouts

Russia has been seizing some U.S. and NATO-supplied weapons and equipment left on the battlefield in Ukraine and sending them to Iran, where the U.S. believes Tehran will try to reverse engineer the systems, four people familiar with the matter told CNN project.

Over the past year, U.S., NATO and other Western officials have seen several seizures of small shoulder-fired weapons by Russian forces, including Javelin anti-tank and Stinger air defense systems that Ukrainian troops are sometimes forced to leave behind, the sources said. Tell CNN, on the battlefield.

In many of these cases, Russia then flew the equipment to Iran for disassembly and analysis, possibly so the Iranian military could try to create its own version of the weapon, the sources said. Russia believes that continuing to supply Iran with captured Western weapons will motivate Tehran to continue supporting Russia’s war in Ukraine, the sources said.

U.S. officials do not believe the problem is widespread or systemic, and the Ukrainian military has made a habit of reporting to the Pentagon since the war began the loss of any equipment the U.S. supplies to Russian forces, the officials said. Still, U.S. officials acknowledge the problem is difficult to track down.

It is unclear whether Iran has successfully reverse-engineered any U.S. weapons seized from Ukraine, but Tehran has proven to be quite adept at developing weapons systems based on past seized U.S. equipment.

A key weapon in Iran’s inventory, the Toophan anti-tank missile, was reverse-engineered from the American BGM-71 TOW missile in the 1970s. The Iranians also intercepted an American-made drone, the Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel, in 2011 and reverse engineered it to create a new drone, which was launched in 2018. entered Israeli airspace in 2009 and was shot down.

The coordination is yet another example of Moscow’s growing defense partnership with Tehran, which has intensified over the past year as Russia has become increasingly desperate for external military support to bolster its war on Ukraine. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said last month that the partnership not only further destabilizes Ukraine, but could also threaten Iran’s neighbors in the Middle East.

CNN has reached out to the Russian embassy in Washington and Iran’s UN mission for comment.

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