'Russia-Iran drone axis' a power to be reckoned with: Israeli media
The Israeli occupation voices more than just concern about Iran's growing military abilities as the balance of power shift further toward the East.
Russia is increasingly using Iranian drones in Ukraine, which is a threat that "must be taken seriously" in the international arena, not only in the countries' respective regions, Israeli West Asia affairs analyst Seth Frantzman wrote in The Jerusalem Post.
According to Frantzman, Iran has been exporting either pieces or blueprints of drones to its regional allies, such as Ansar Allah in Yemen, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Hamas in occupied Palestine. What is notable, however, is that the UAVs are now much more sophisticated than they used to be, with longer ranges and higher precision.
The main point of concern for the Israeli analyst is the fact that Iran is growing to be a lot bigger than its own sphere of influence within West Asia, extending to Europe, namely Russia.
Russia's usage of loitering munition drones developed by Iran against Ukraine is showing the might of the Iranian UAV capabilities.
Reportedly, Russia is chiefly using the Shahed-136/Geran-2 type kamikaze drone against Ukraine, with many reports surfacing about the matter in recent days. According to Frantzman, for all anyone knows, Russia could have ordered thousands of the drones, or could even be manufacturing them locally.
A Ukrainian fighter jet crashed in the Vinnytsia region of Ukraine on Wednesday, Kiev's State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) confirmed earlier on Thursday following reports on the issue.
The fighter jet in question is a MiG-29K, which was sent out to intercept Shahed-136 UAVs, according to the Ukrainian bureau.
The SBI claimed that after the MiG-29K succeeded in destroying five Shahed-136s, the jet collided with debris from a destroyed drone, which caused massive damage to it to the point where it crashed near a village in northeast Vinnytsia. The pilot managed to eject and is currently receiving treatment in the hospital.
The Israeli occupation, concerned by Tehran bolstering its status as an arms manufacturer on a global scale, is providing Kiev with intelligence on the Iranian drones being used in Ukraine, The New York Times reported on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky claimed that Russia was deploying almost 2,500 attack drones purchased from Iran.
Despite Israeli and Ukrainian claims about alleged Iranian drones being used in the war in Ukaine, Tehran has repeatedly denied such accusations.
Iranian Foreign Minister Amir-Abdollahian had affirmed in an interview with La Repubblica newspaper that Iran would continue to avoid any steps that could prolong the war in Ukraine and did not confirm the sale of military equipment, including drones, to Russia.
Russia is a major player in the international arena, and its usage of Iranian drones promotes the latter and could see Iran's standing increase even further.
Iran, according to the author, is also expanding its market by attending various forums, such as the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), which means that more countries in Asia, Africa, West Asia, and even Latin America could become customers.
Iranian drones started to fly over Ukraine for the first time a few weeks ago. The drones flew from Crimea, according to Andriana Arekhta, a first sergeant in the Ukrainian armed forces, and headed to attack a special forces unit fighting near the southern city of Kherson.
Russia has deployed Iranian Shahed-136 and Mohajer-6 combat drones across Ukraine, which led to "devastating results". Some hit combat positions and destroyed tanks and armored vehicles.
According to Politico, it appears that Iranian drones may be a game changer for the Russians. They are relatively small and fly low, evading Ukrainian radars.