Ukraine warns it cannot defend against Iran’s ballistic missiles

Ukrainian Air Force Command spokesman Yurii Ihnat briefs the press in Kyiv in 2022.
Ukrainian Air Force Command spokesman Yurii Ihnat briefs the press in Kyiv in 2022. (Evgen Kotenko/Ukrinform/NurPhoto/Shutterstock)

If Russia acquires Iranian ballistic missiles for use in its war in Ukraine, the Ukrainian air force has warned it will not have the capability to defend against them.

“Russia is still willing to receive drones (unmanned aerial vehicles) and Fateh and Zolfargar missiles from Iran. Those are ballistic missiles. We have no way to defeat them,” Air Force Command spokesman Yurii Ihnat said. Said on Ukrainian television on Monday.

As of November, Iran was preparing to send about 1,000 weapons to Russia, including surface-to-surface short-range ballistic missiles and more attack drones, for a war against Ukraine, officials from Western countries that closely monitor Iran’s weapons program told CNN at the time .

Reuters quoted two Iranian officials and two Iranian diplomats as saying in October that Tehran had promised to supply Russia with the weapons. “The Russians asked for more drones and more accurate Iranian ballistic missiles, especially the Fateh and Zolfarhar missile series,” an Iranian diplomat briefed on the trip told Reuters.

The Iranian government acknowledged in November that it had sent a limited number of drones to Russia in the months before it began its invasion of Ukraine, but denied providing military equipment for use in the Ukraine war.

“Russia has Kinzhal-type missiles that can strike on a ballistic trajectory,” Ihnat said on Monday. “They have Kh-22 missiles that attack ballistically, and S-300 and S-400 rockets that attack ballistically. These are the challenges and threats that we face now.”

To “defeat ballistic threats,” Ukraine needs air defense systems such as the latest generation of the American Patriot PAC-3 and the French-made SAMP/T (Sol-Air Moyenne Portée/Terrestre), Ihnat said

The United States has not released details of the Patriot air defense system it plans to supply to Ukraine. Ukrainian soldiers began training on the Patriot missile system earlier this month.

Previous reporting was by Kylie Atwood, Ellie Kaufman, Oren Liebermann and Haley Britzky in Washington and Celine Alkhaldi in Abu Dhabi.

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