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Russia has deployed Iranian-made drones for the first time this week, according to British intelligence reports.

“Russia is almost certainly buying more and more weapons from other heavily sanctioned states like Iran and North Korea as its own stocks are dwindling,” the British Defense Ministry wrote in an intelligence update Wednesday.

A US official last week said Russia has turned to North Korea to purchase military equipment, including artillery shells and rockets. The Biden administration reported in August that Russia had received Iranian drones but ran into technical problems while attempting to deploy them.

The British Defense Ministry, citing Ukrainian officials, said Russia has now “very likely” deployed Iranian drones to Ukraine, notably naming the Shahed-136 drone, which Ukrainian officials said they shot down.

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“The loss of a Shahed-136 near the front line suggests that there is a realistic possibility that Russia is attempting to use the system to conduct tactical attacks rather than against more strategic targets more on Ukrainian territory,” the report said.

The report also notes that similar drones have appeared in attacks in the Middle East, including an attack on the tanker MT Mercer Street last year. Two people died in the attack, which took place near the coast of Oman.

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Rebekah Koffler, president of Doctrine & Strategy Consulting and former DIA intelligence officer, told Fox News Digital that Russia’s cooperation with rogue nations poses “a serious risk” because it further consolidates the ties between these rogue nations as well as provide Iran and North Korea a battlefield test of their weapons against NATO and US military hardware.

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in Tehran, Iran on July 19, 2022.
(President’s website / WANA (West Asian News Agency) / Handout via REUTERS)

“With Russia having the largest nuclear arsenal in the world and vast know-how that Moscow does, this emerging coalition – even if it’s not a true NATO-style alliance – could have destabilizing effects on the homeland and globally,” he said. Koffler.

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“This emerging trend has far-reaching implications because Iran and North Korea are some of the US’s most dangerous, aggressive and reckless adversaries,” he added. “Both Iran and North Korea have pursued nuclear programs, trying to target the United States and our allies. Both regularly launch cyber attacks on US networks.”

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attend a press conference following the Astana Trial Summit in Tehran, Iran on July 19, 2022.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attend a press conference following the Astana Trial Summit in Tehran, Iran on July 19, 2022.
(Majid Asgaripour / WANA (West Asian News Agency) / Handout via Reuters)

Russia will also be able to pull out the conflict in Ukraine, prolonging the friction and potentially starving US and European allies of their own arms stocks. Defense contractors in May warned that supporting Ukraine’s war effort was running out of US arms stocks.

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An unnamed Pentagon official told the Wall Street Journal in August that some ammunition supplies have reached “uncomfortably low” levels.

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