Iran secretly supplied Russia with hundreds of thousands of shells - media

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13:12, 08.03.2023

The ships were carrying around 100 million bullets and around 300,000 shells. The ships also reportedly carried ammunition for MLRS, mortars and machine guns.

Two Russian-flagged cargo ships left an Iranian port in January, heading for Russia across the Caspian Sea, according to a source.

According to Sky News, Iran had secretly sent Russia a huge amount of ammunition, missiles and mortar shells for the Ukrainian conflict. The source said two Russian-flagged cargo ships left an Iranian port for Moscow via the Caspian Sea in January with 100 million rounds of ammunition and 300,000 shells.

An insider said Russia bought the ammunition for cash.

The amount of military aid could not be reliably confirmed. One expert warned that the volume was very large

Iran was previously accused of providing Russia with hundreds of drones to destroy Ukraine's energy infrastructure.

A security source claimed that Moscow was using Iran as a "rear base" because of their close military ties.

Western and Ukrainian authorities have warned that Iran may be supplying more lethal ballistic missiles, but there is no evidence of this.

In addition to Iranian support, Western capitals are concerned that China is supplying Russia with weapons, which the US has warned would have "serious consequences" for Beijing. China denies this.

'Secret' cargo ships

A security source has identified the Musa Jalil and Begay as two general purpose vessels allegedly carrying arms from Iran to Russia.

Both vessels fly Russian flags.

Sky News has reached out to the Russian shipowner for comment on the reports, but has yet to receive a response.

The Russian Defence Ministry and the Iranian Foreign Ministry did not respond to requests for comment.

The source said one vessel left Iran on 10 January and the other on 12 January.

The source estimated that the two ships carried 200 cargo containers filled with weapons.

The insider was confident about the quantity of ammunition being transported.

The two hundred containers on the two vessels could be carrying a large quantity of ammunition," the source said.

Sky News' data and forensics department confirmed the movement of the vessels, but the dates were different.

The ships' cargoes could not be traced

on January 9, MarineTraffic detected two vessels in Amirabad, Iran, in the Caspian Sea. A Sky News satellite photo taken the following day showed at least one vessel in port.

The ships' route to Russia via the Caspian Sea was confirmed.

Iran had sent two cargo ships to the war zone in Ukraine, carrying around 200 sea containers of ammunition for the Russian military," the security source added.

The source said the shipment included 100 million rounds of 5.56 mm, 7.62 mm, 9 mm, 12.7 mm and 14.5 mm ammunition for handguns, assault rifles and machine guns.

The source said that the ships also carried 300,000 rounds of ammunition, including 40 mm grenades for grenade launchers, 107 mm anti-tank missiles, mortar shells of various diameters (60 mm, 81 mm and 120 mm), artillery shells (130 mm, 122 mm and 152 mm) and armour-piercing projectiles (115 mm and 125 mm).

The source said there were 10,000 body armour and helmets on board.

Russia pays for the ammunition in cash and circumvents Western restrictions on it," the source said.

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