A letter from the Ukrainian government to G7 nations says that some of the components used in the manufacture of Shahed-type drones come from companies based in the West, The Guardian reported on Sept. 27.
The letter alleges that more than 50 electrical components originally stemmed from companies located in countries that are both allied with Ukraine and involved in the sanctions coalition. The countries named include the U.S., Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Canada, and Japan.
According to the letter, Shahed-type drones using Western components have been used in at least 600 strikes on Ukraine.
The drones, which were originally produced in Iran and first used in attacks against Ukraine in September 2022, are cheap to manufacture, and when used in swarms can be “a headache” for Ukrainian air defense, Air Force spokesperson Yurii Ihnat said.
There have been previous reports that the Shahed drones were being manufactured with parts from Western countries, and the letter further purports that Iran has begun to “disassociate itself from providing Russia with weapons”, and that “it cannot cope with Russian demand”.
As a result, drone manufacturing locations have shifted to Russia, in addition to Iran and in Syria, another Kremlin ally.
The letter also notes that it is unclear if the Western companies mentioned were fully aware that their components were being used in drone production, because the parts are largely of a commercial nature and are thus poorly regulated. The components have typically reached Iran through intermediary countries, thereby evading sanctions.
Spokespeople for some of the companies identified in the letter have condemned the usage of their components in the manufacturing of drones and have participated in sanctions, but have acknowledged it is “difficult to fully control sales throughout the entire lifetime of a product”.