Russia accuses Ukraine of terrorism, Iranian instructors help Shahed-136 launches – ISW

13 October 2022, 12:39 PM
The remains of the Iranian Shahed-136 drone, found after the strike on Kharkiv, October 6, 2022 (Photo:REUTERS/Vyacheslav Madiyevskyy)

The remains of the Iranian Shahed-136 drone, found after the strike on Kharkiv, October 6, 2022 (Photo:REUTERS/Vyacheslav Madiyevskyy)

Russia may have brought Iranian military instructors to the occupied areas of Ukraine to train Russian troops in the use of Shahed-136 drones, U.S. think tank the Institute for the Study of War reported on it in its assessment of Oct. 12.

Meanwhile, Russian propaganda intensifies its efforts to falsely portray Ukraine as a "terrorist state," the ISW report reads.

The ISW says the Iranians that were supposedly brought to Ukraine are "Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)-affiliated personnel" – elite paramilitary units that are a branch of the Iranian Armed Forces.

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In particular, The IRGC is the primary operator of Iran‘s drone inventory, so these Iranian instructors are likely IRGC or IRGC-affiliated personnel.

The National Resistance Center of Ukraine reported on Oct. 12 that Russia had brought an unknown number of Iranian instructors to Dzhankoy (in Ukraine’s Russian-occupied Crimea), and Zalizniy Port and Hladivtsi (Kherson Oblast) to train Russians how to use Shahed-136 kamikaze drones.

The instructors directly oversee the launch of drones on Ukrainian civilian targets, including strikes on Mykolaiv and Odesa, the center suggested.

Also, in response to calls to declare Russia a terrorist state, Russian propaganda intensified an information operation to falsely portray Ukraine as a terrorist state, ISW notes.

A substantial number of unverified claims serve as evidence of this, the institute said. For instance, Russian’s FSB federal security service claimed it had arrested Ukrainian citizens for allegedly planning “terrorist attacks” in Sverdlovsk, Moscow, and Bryansk oblasts.

Relatedly Russian milbloggers, who are the part of propaganda machine, amplified accusations of Ukraine as a terrorist state and calling for Russian authorities to enhance “counterintelligence” procedures and formally declare Ukraine to be a terrorist state.

The ISW describes three possible reasons for it:

  • Russia is attempting "to set information conditions to respond to Ukrainian attempts to formally designate Russia a terrorist state, especially in the wake of recent massive attacks on critical Ukrainian infrastructure and residential areas.
  • Russia "may also be setting conditions to justify further massive strikes on Ukrainian rear areas," ISW warned. Although, as it was assessed, these tactics are part of the Russian way of war and will likely be utilized regardless of informational conditions.
  • The third reason is in the wake of news about "terrorists attack prevention" in Russia, the authorities may also be setting conditions for false-flag attacks against Russia framed as Ukrainian-perpetrated acts of terrorism.

Map of hostilities: offensive of the Armed Forces in the east and south, battles in Donbas

Photo: ISW
Photo: ISW
Photo: ISW
Photo: ISW

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