The air defense systems currently operated by Ukraine cannot counter enemy ballistic missiles or anti-aircraft missiles that fly along ballistic trajectories, says Air Force Colonel Yuri Ignat. He was quoted as saying, “The main threat that hangs in the air and can still be implemented is, of course, Iranian missiles. Russia has not abandoned its intentions to receive from Iran kamikaze drones and, in a certain way, missiles, which were announced earlier – Fateh-110 and Zolfaghar. We understand that Russia also has ballistics in the form of those same Kinzhal missiles. This is actually a complex, but air-based, which strikes along a ballistic trajectory. Likewise, Kh-22 missiles … and S-300 S-400 missiles – anti-aircraft missiles that hit on a ballistic trajectory.” He stressed the importance of providing Patriot PAC-3 and SAMP-T systems to Ukraine to help defend against these threats.
Due to U.N. Security Council sanction threats, Iran could postpone the sales of any missile to Russia, and if sales occur, it could limit the range and payload of those missiles. As Paul Iddon writes at Forbes.com (abridged):
Since September, Russia has launched hundreds of Iranian-supplied loitering munitions (self-detonating drones) against Ukraine’s power grid. Tehran has much faster and deadlier drones and short-range ballistic missiles (SRBM) that it might also supply Moscow after October when a key condition in a 2015 U.N. Security Council resolution restricting Iranian missile exports is set to expire.
In December, Axios reported that Iran plans to limit the range and payload of any SRBMs it supplies Russia. Tehran wants to avoid violating U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231, which bans it from exporting drones or SRBMs with ranges exceeding 300 kilometers (186 miles) and payloads greater than 500 kilograms until October 2023. If Iran is caught violating that resolution, it could trigger the “snapback” of U.N. sanctions.
However, it’s unclear if Iran has yet delivered any SRBMs or longer-range drones, such as the Arash-2. Tehran reportedly plans to modify the Fateh-110 SRBM, which can hit targets up to 300 km away, to ensure it doesn’t violate 2231. It has also ruled out sending the Zolfagher SRBM, which has a range of 700 km range (434 miles). Significant quantities of these weapons could potentially enable Russia to continue or even expand its systematic destruction of Ukraine’s electricity grid and infrastructure.
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