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Intelligence: Intercepted call shows Russia recruits Iranian, Kurdish drone operators

by The Kyiv Independent news desk February 12, 2023 1:50 PM 1 min read
This audio is created with AI assistance

Russian forces recruited Kurdish drone operators in addition to Iranians to conduct attacks against Ukraine, including on Feb. 10.

In a conversation intercepted by the Ukrainian military intelligence agency, two Iranian-made Shahed 136/131 kamikaze drone operators discuss target coordinates using Kurdish with a dash of Farsi, a language spoken in Iran.

The interception may indicate “Kurdish mercenaries with experience in the combat use of Shahed drones are also fighting” for Russia, the intelligence report said.

The Kurds have been said to be the world's largest nation without a sovereign state. They number around 30 million and are mainly dispersed among Turkey, Syria, Iran, and Iraq.

Ukraine’s military intelligence also said Russia has already recruited Kurdish mercenaries in the war in Syria.

On the morning of Feb. 10, Russia unleashed its 14th mass missile strike targeting Ukraine's critical infrastructure, launching dozens of air- and sea-launched cruise missiles and drones. Ukraine’s Air Force downed a total of 20 Russian kamikaze drones that day.

How Russia loses allies, influence amid its aggression against Ukraine
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