Iranian Ballistic Missiles Would Cause Disaster for Ukraine, Air Force Says

Iranian ballistic missiles would mean disaster for Ukraine, a spokesperson for Ukraine's Air Force said on Tuesday.

Spokesman Yurii Ihnat was responding to reports that Iran has pledged to provide Russia with surface-to-surface ballistic missiles, as well as more attack drones, for President Vladimir Putin's troops to use in the war against Ukraine.

Two senior Iranian officials and two diplomats told Reuters last month that Iran and Russia came to a deal on October 6 when First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber, two senior officials from Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guards and an official from the Supreme National Security Council visited Moscow for talks.

Ihnat said during a press briefing on Tuesday that Ukraine will "take all measures of protection against these missiles."

An Iranian soldier
Above, an Iranian soldier stands next to an Iranian Shahab-3 missile during a rally marking al-Quds (Jerusalem) day in Tehran on April 29, 2022. Iran has reportedly pledged to provide Russia with surface-to-surface ballistic missiles, as well as more attack drones. -/AFP/Getty Images

"They will probably be delivered to the North of Ukraine; that's where they can be launched from, in such a way as to threaten the whole of Ukraine," he said.

The air force spokesman said one of the types of missiles being supplied to Russia by Iran has a range of 300 kilometers, and the other has a range of 700 kilometers.

"These are ballistic missiles. We have no effective defense against these missiles," Ihnat said, adding that "it is theoretically possible to shoot them down, but in fact, it is very difficult to do it with the means we have at our disposal. We have anti-air defense, but not anti-missile defense."

An Iranian diplomat who was briefed about the October 6 trip told Reuters that Russia had asked Iran for more drones and Iranian ballistic missiles with improved accuracy, "particularly the Fateh and Zolfaghar missiles family."

The news outlet also cited a western official briefed on the matter as saying that a deal was made between Iran and Russia to provide surface-to-surface short-range ballistic missiles, including the Zolfaghar.

The Zolfaghar is an Iranian short-range, solid-fuel ballistic missile that was first unveiled in 2016 by defense minister Hossein Dehghan. It has a reported range of 700 kilometers and was reportedly used to strike targets in Syria in June 2017.

Ihnat said that Russia also wants to purchase Iskander-M ballistic missiles from Iran, which are typically produced and deployed by Russian forces. He said Russia is running out of those missiles and has started to use up its emergency reserves.

Putin's forces have reportedly used Iranian-made "kamikaze" drones, or Shahed-136 drones, in recent strikes across Ukraine. However, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has said that the country "has not and will not provide any weapon to be used in the war in Ukraine."

Newsweek reached out to Russia's foreign ministry and Iran's ministry of foreign affairs for comment.