The Shahed: Military Drones in the Run-Up to the U.S.-Russia War and the Killing of the Ukrainians
Iran denied it continued to supply drones to Russia after it acknowledged for the first time providing some of them to Russia in the run up to the war in Ukraine. Zelenskyy countered that Iran was “lying” because Ukrainian forces “shoot down at least 10 Iranian drones every day.”
The drones are disposable, which inspired the name “kamikaze”. The military drones that return home after dropping missiles are different from the ones designed to hit behind enemy lines.
The White House is not providing Kyiv with larger drones like the Predator and Reaper that U.S. forces used in the wars that began after the Sept. 11 attacks. Both aircraft can fly for hours while carrying missiles and bombs.
Unlike predator drones that can be remote-controlled and drop ammunition loads and fly off, the Shahed drones are programmed with coordinates ahead of time and rely on GPS to hit their targets.
Another disadvantage of the Shahed drones is their speed, said Ret. Marine Col. Mark Cancian, who now serves as a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
“The problem with them is that they’re slow,” Cancian said. They’re susceptible to being shot down by missiles or by aircraft guns because they are not very fast, like all propeller-driven drones.
Nuclear Propagation in the Near-Infrared: Tehran’s Precision Guided Missiles as a Test of World War II
The shipment of Iran’s precision guided missiles to Russia is being closely monitored because it would be the first instance of Iran sending such missiles to another country.
Iran has repeatedly said it is siding with no side in the war in Russia. Iran has not given arms to either warring side,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry said on Twitter.
Both Nadimi and Cancian compared the Russian decision to target cities as it is losing on the frontlines to The Blitz – the German bombing campaign that targeted London in World War II.
“It seems like the Russians are using these the way they use their cruise missiles – that is to strike at the major cities likely with the intention of intimidating the Ukrainian population … but I think from a military point of view that is a mistake,” Cancian said. “The Ukrainians are very unlikely to break. The good feeling is not likely to break.
Cancian believes that focusing on cities could give the military more time to recover from the front lines similar to the one Britain had in WWII.
At the same time, the U.S. has said it is speeding up its delivery of NASAMS, the same ground-based air defense systems that are used to protect the White House in Washington, D.C., and the systems are expected to be in Ukraine in a few weeks.
In August, the Pentagon said it would send Puma drones — small aircraft that soldiers toss into the air to launch and then control by remote control from up to nine miles away. Pumas can stay at altitudes of about 500 feet.
The Iranian Connection to the Ukraine Crisis and the Future of UAV Relations in the US – A Brief Analysis of the Recent UAV Efforts
This new expected shipment is an increase in Iranian support for Russia. Officials believe that weapons will be delivered to Russia before the end of the year, despite not knowing when the shipment will arrive.
Sending further Iranian weaponry to Russia is a move that will likely cause relations with the US to further deteriorate. On Monday, the US envoy to Iran Rob Malley said that the Biden administration would not waste time on talks if nothing happened. Tehran’s support for Russia in the Ukraine war and its crackdown on nationwide protests prompted by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in September have prompted the US to impose further sanctions on Iran.
Earlier this month John Kirby, the communications coordinator at the National Security Council, said the presence of Iranian personnel was evidence of Tehran’s direct engagement in the conflict.
“We know that those drones have been used to target civilians and civilian infrastructure. Iran keeps lying and denying that it is happening despite all of the evidence.
On Monday a senior US defense official said they didn’t have any information to provide on the suggestion Iran is preparing to send missiles to Russia for use in Ukraine.
The US blacklisted an air transportation provider last month after it was involved in the shipment of Iranian drones to Russia. The US is also ready to “target producers and procurers” contributing to the UAV program, the Treasury Department’s Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence said.
The question of longevity and sustainability remains because it is unclear how long Iran can or would continue providing weaponry – including more advanced missiles – to Russia.
State of Ukraine: a naivety of the Cold War and the threat of a counterattack on Ukraine’s security services
There is a possibility of a battle for Kherson, a Russian-occupied city. The Russian officials are preparing for a possible Ukrainian counteroffensive.
And Ukraine will be watching America’s midterm election results this week, especially after some Republicans warned that the party could limit funding for Ukraine if it wins control of the House of Representatives, as forecast.
The Turkish president will be hosting the Swedish prime minister on Tuesday. Erdogan insists Sweden must meet certain conditions before it can join NATO.
A report from the International Atomic Energy Agency is expected to be on the agenda when the United Nations General Assembly meets on Wednesday.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russia of “energy terrorism,” as attacks on Ukraine’s infrastructure left more than 4 million Ukrainians without electricity.
Russia reentered a U.N.-brokered deal to send agricultural goods from Ukraine on November 2. A few days before the deal was supposed to be signed, Moscow said that Ukraine had launched a drone attack on its Black Sea ships.
You can read past recaps here. You can find more of NPR’s coverage here. Also, listen and subscribe to NPR’s State of Ukraine podcast for updates throughout the day.
An Unusual US Airborne Collision During the First Presidential Visit to the US: On the Importance of Chinese Security Policies in the South China Sea
Beth Sanner was the deputy director of National Intelligence for Mission Integration, and oversaw the elements that coordinated and led collection, analysis, and program oversight throughout the Intelligence Community. In this role she also served as the president’s intelligence briefer. She is a professor at the University of Maryland and a CNN national security analyst. The opinions expressed in this commentary are her own. You can get opinions on CNN.
With these incidents over international waters in mind, it is not hard to imagine the Chinese military would have shot down an unmanned US balloon or other aircraft flying over mainland China without hesitation, regardless of any risk to Chinese citizens or property. Beijing’s extensive global media apparatus would promote claims that the incursion exemplified US double standards regarding violations of sovereignty with this narrative also seeding on Chinese social media channels. Any planned visits to the US by China’s foreign policy chief, like Secretary of State Blinken’s now-postponed trip to Beijing, would have been outright canceled.
The Chinese seized a US Navy underwater vehicle in the South China Sea just 50 nautical miles from Subic Bay in the Philippines, and hundreds of miles from China. The largest US naval base in Asia was pulled out of Subic Bay in 1992, as disagreements over costs led to a larger US military presence in the Philippines. The incident was thought to have been a message to President-elect Donald Trump, who angered Beijing by taking a call from the president of Taiwan. Beijing agreed to return the craft three days later, but never apologized and accused the US of spying.
The most memorable and instructive example dates back to the presidency of George W. Bush. Two Chinese fighter jets harassed a US navy plane over international waters on April 1, 2001. One crashed after hitting the EP-3. The EP-3’s pilot managed to regain control of his heavily-damaged plane and made an unauthorized emergency landing on China’s Hainan Island. The 24 US crew members were held for 11 days, some of them were repeatedly questioned by US officials before their release.
Then-Chinese President Jiang Zemin laid blame for the collision on the US. Nearly two months elapsed before the two sides reached agreement for the return of the aircraft. Having removed and refused to return the plane’s hardware, software and communications equipment, the Chinese insisted the EP-3 be dismantled and transported by a third party at the US’s expense. Beijing tried to impose costs on the Bush administration, such as costs for detaining the plane’s crew. Washington offered $34,000, a “fair figure”, which China refused, and never apologized.
My first reaction to the Chinese balloon when it was identified floating over Montana was probably the same as yours: “Shoot it down, already!” But in my decades as a senior intelligence official, my role in such circumstances was to focus on the facts, not the outrage, highlighting the intelligence community’s knowledge — and the gaps in our understanding — and providing a measured, clear-headed assessment. A senior Intelligence official would have joined the US military in setting the agenda for the meetings in the White House Situation Room. The decision to wait to shoot the balloon down until it was flying over shallow US waters was based on the risk of causing a big debris field.
If you listen closely, you can already hear the war drums beating, and I’m waiting for the hyperbole to reach new heights as we move closer to the 2024 election: who will be the toughest on China of them all? But let’s not let China-bashing become a new brand of McCarthyism, particularly when considering the already-dangerous rise in anti-Asian rhetoric and violence reported in the US in recent years.
At Saturday’s security conference, Beijing’s top diplomat said his country was ready to present a peace plan for the war-torn country.
Wang stated that Beijing will work to make peace in the world and will respect the sovereignty of all countries.
Some key context: Many European Union leaders in Munich remain wary of Beijing’s intentions, as Wang called on European countries to change their approach to the war.
“We need more proof that China isn’t working with Russia, and we aren’t seeing that now,” European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen told CNN Saturday.
Nuland says the US has warned Beijing against giving lethal support and that the Russians asked the Chinese for weapons. This was a key topic of conversation between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and China’s top diplomat Wang Yi in Munich this weekend.
Wang Yi, China’s highest-ranking foreign policy adviser, will arrive in Moscow this week on his European tour, which will bring into focus China’s attempted diplomatic balancing act after Russia sent tanks into Ukraine a year ago.
As CNN previously reported, the Biden administration last month raised concerns with China about evidence it has suggesting that Chinese companies have sold non-lethal equipment to Russia for use in Ukraine, in an effort to ascertain how much Beijing knows about the transactions, according to two US officials.
The officials would not describe in detail what intelligence the US has seen suggesting a recent shift in China’s posture, but said US officials have been concerned enough that they have shared the intelligence with allies and partners at the Munich Security Conference over the last several days.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken raised the issue when he met with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, on Saturday on the sidelines of the conference, officials said.
“The Secretary was quite blunt in warning about the implications and consequences of China providing material support to Russia or assisting Russia with systematic sanctions evasion,” a senior State Department official told reporters.
The World Needs to End Warfare: Beijing’s Top Diplomat in Ukraine and the Violation of the U.S.-China War
“This warfare cannot continue to rage on. Wang said at the conference that we need to think about what efforts we can make to end the warfare.
“To date, we have seen Chinese companies – and, of course, in China there is really no distinction between private companies and the state – we have seen them provide non-lethal support to … Russia for use in the Ukraine,” Blinken said.
We have information that they might provide lethal support. And we’ve made very clear to them that that would cause a serious problem for us and in our relationship,” he added.
As US President Joe Biden touched down inUkraine to meet his counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky, China’s top diplomat was on his way to Russia.
The two trips taking place just days before the one-year anniversary of the brutal war on Friday underscores the sharpening of the fault lines between the world’s two superpowers.
A thinly veiled dig at the US was made by Wang, who said that China does not add fuel to the fire and is against reaping benefits from the crisis.
“Some forces might not want to see peace talks to materialize. They aren’t concerned with the life and death of Ukrainians or the harm on Europe. It’s possible they have strategic goals bigger than Ukraine’s. This warfare must not continue,” Wang said.
He urged European officials to think about “what framework should there be to bring lasting peace to Europe, what role should Europe play to manifest its strategic autonomy.”
Beijing Doesn’t Give Out knives for Confrontation: a New Look at the Russian-Russian Connection in the Cross-Agenda
On Friday, when asked about the potential sale of lethal equipment to Russia, Wang said that China does not provide any arms sales to conflict areas.
There is a call for dialogue and peace. Who gives out knives for confrontation? The international community can see clearly and that’s what the spokesman said.
Previously, Beijing had carefully avoided actions that could trigger secondary sanctions, which would deal a devastating blow to an economy hampered by three years of costly zero-Covid policy.
And while Beijing’s pro-Russian rhetoric appears to have softened in recent months, its support for Moscow – when measured by its annual trade, diplomatic engagements and schedule of joint military exercises – has bolstered over the past year.
The Biden administration on Friday will be putting “constraints” on Chinese companies believed to be “active in evading sanctions” related to the war in Ukraine, a top US State Department official said Thursday.
Victoria Nuland, the Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, announced that the US would be putting other constraints on entities that were Chinese or Chinese-based in Europe and that there would be a package of sanctions on Friday.
The forthcoming sanctions will also “clamp down on more Russian banks that have been evading sanctions” as well as “the middlemen who are flipping back money to the Russian government” through oil trade.
It does not appear that Beijing has made a final decision yet, the sources said, but negotiations between Russia and China about the price and scope of the equipment are ongoing.
The provision of drones and ammunition – which would likely be for small arms like handheld weaponry rather than larger artillery, the sources said – would mark a significant escalation of China’s support for Russia, which to date has been largely limited to Chinese companies providing non-lethal equipment like helmets, flak jackets, and satellite imagery to Russian forces.
It would also provide a potentially significant boost to Russian capabilities at a critical moment. The leader of a Russian mercenary group published photos of many dead fighters and blamed the Russian Ministry of Defense for their death because they couldn’t supply them with enough bullets.
China has a scalar economy, but does nothing wrong with its public and private entities, sources in the e-research community
But the lines between public and private entities in China are negligible, the sources said, and US intelligence suggests that Beijing has been using the companies for plausible deniability.