Ukraine’s air defense systems around Kyiv and any other area covered by its most advanced surface-to-air missiles have all the necessary, sophisticated capabilities to counter the Iranian Fateh-110 and Zolfaghar missiles, but their use against other sites with lesser defenses has raised concerns about their potential transfer to Russia.
According to remarks to the Unian news outlet, military and political commentator Alexander Kovalenko said that the ballistic Zolfaghar missiles can be intercepted only by the Patriot and SAMP/T systems, but their employment by Russia elsewhere could lead to tactical challenges, especially in the areas not as layered with air defense as Kyiv.
He said that Russia might use Fateh-110 missiles in areas with lower air defense concentrations and reserve the Zolfaghar missiles for other areas in Ukraine, where less adequate air defense systems exist, were the Russians to get these weapons from Iran.
Kovalenko said that the availability of these missiles is limited, and their production capacity isn’t comparable to the simpler production of kamikaze drones, which Russian forces have been using in significant numbers against Ukraine.
He said there are also logistical complexities involved in the potential missile transfer because these missiles require specific launchers, which would need to be delivered to Russia along with the missiles. Additionally, personnel would require specialized training to operate these systems.
He said targeting the launchers might prove more cost-effective and efficient than intercepting the missiles themselves.
Earlier reports from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) suggested that Iran is indeed prepared to sell Fateh-110 and Zolfaghar ballistic missiles to Russia. Amin Soltani, an analyst at ISW, noted that this sale could occur as soon as October, following the expiration of a UN resolution.
Soltani speculated on the potential exchange, suggesting that Tehran might request Su-35 aircraft, S-400 air defense systems, assistance with various military programs, including in space, missile, and nuclear initiatives, as well as access to Western weaponry used in Ukraine for reverse engineering.
President Volodymyr Zelensky has acknowledged the concerns regarding the possible missile transfer but emphasized that there is currently no concrete evidence of Iran selling these missiles to Russia.
Relevant authorities are actively working to investigate this issue further.
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