Russia has depleted most of its precision-guided weapons, including many drones to support long-range artillery strikes. Six months after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine began, Russia counted on Iran for additional munitions, US officials notes.

President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, shared with reporters Monday a brief insight on the intelligence they have gathered regarding the Kremlin leader’s recent visit to Iran, revealing that Russia has sought “hundreds of armed and unarmed surveillance drones from Iran.”

While neither country has confirmed it, Sullivan said Iran is preparing to supply Russia with around 300 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones, including training Russian troops on how to use them.

“Russia deepening an alliance with Iran to kill Ukrainians is something that the whole world should look at and see as a profound threat,” Sullivan said.

But according to Sullivan, the Russian delegation visited an airfield in central Iran at least twice in the last five weeks—on June 8 and July 5—to examine drones that can be armed. Based on the satellite imagery, the former has inspected Shahed-191 drones.

UAV Showcase Kashan Airfield Iran
According to satellite imagery released by the White House, a Russian delegation viewed Iranian Shahed-191 and Shahed-129 drones at an airfield in central Iran in June. (Source: @Divsallar/Twitter)

At a press conference Tuesday, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said there is no indication yet on whether or not Iran has sent the alleged drones to Russia or when. In the same week, Moscow’s spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, denied they had any plans to purchase Iranian drones.

Russia’s depleting supply of UAV drones

Russian President Vladimir Putin recently flew to Iran, marking his first trip outside his homeland since the Ukraine invasion in February, to meet with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to discuss the arms deal.