(RightWing.org) – Ukraine’s defense forces have received a lot of free weapons over the last year. From US and British missiles to the latest deliveries of modern tanks, the free world has dug deep into its own arsenals to help the Ukrainian military resist Russia’s invasion. But are they also getting weapons from more dubious sources?
On May 2, Twitter account Ukraine Weapons Tracker claimed Ukraine is using Iranian-made artillery ammunition. The account, which says its goal is “Debunking & tracking” the use of captured weapons in Ukraine, has photos taken from Ukrainian media showing artillery shells, which are marked “Iranian OF-462 122mm HE projectile(s).”
#Ukraine: The Ukrainian army continues to receive Iranian-made 🇮🇷 ammunition – and for the first time it is made in 2023.
Here we can see an Iranian OF-462 122mm HE projectile for D-30/2S1 howitzers of the first lot of 2023. pic.twitter.com/2U7BkLQJqb
— 🇺🇦 Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) May 2, 2023
The OF-462 is a Soviet-designed high explosive shell used in the D-30 towed gun/howitzer and 2S1 self-propelled gun/howitzer, Soviet-designed weapons that are widely used by both sides in the war. However, the pictured shells are clearly not made in either Russia or Ukraine. The stenciled markings on Russian and Ukrainian shells include the OF-462 designation in Cyrillic lettering, along with other markings; however, these are marked “122mm D30, HE-TNT, Lot: 1/2023.”
According to the Twitter account, shipping crates pictured with these shells are identical to ones used by Iran — although rough wooden crates with stenciled markings are identical to the ones used by everyone else. Interestingly, the markings on the crates aren’t in Farsi, the Iranian language; they’re in English.
So is Ukraine violating sanctions by buying ammunition from Iran? It’s possible — but there are also a lot of other possibilities. US and British warships regularly intercept and confiscate weapon shipments from Iran to the Houthi rebels in Yemen, and some of the confiscated arms have been redirected to Ukraine.
The ammunition could have been originally sold by Iran to someone else, then bought from that country by either Ukraine or a Western donor (the US and UK have both bought weapons on the world market and then sent them to Ukraine). Finally, they could have been bought by Russia and captured by Ukrainian forces; Russia has been buying large quantities of weapons from Iran.
The interesting thing about these shells is, according to the markings, they were manufactured in January 2023 — but it isn’t the first time they’ve been seen. Last November, the Ukrainian military’s press agency released photos showing troops with a similar shell. Are these shells Iranian? It’s hard to say, and even harder to say how they got to a Ukrainian artillery unit.
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