Over the weekend, authorities in Ukraine announced the seizure of a plane loaded with Russian weapons at the Zulyany Airport. The plane was headed for Iran, and Ukraine claims the cargo included banned missiles and components.
“The Russian agency Interfax confirmed that the weapons were discovered by Ukraine’s border police in Kiev’s airport following a search of 17 containers that were not registered in the flight’s cargo manifesto,” Al-Arabiya reports.
“A spokesman said that three containers were found to be storing the missiles – which are light weight, infrared guided anti-tank missiles – while the remaining storage boxes contained airplane spare parts,” the report continued.
Jane’s 360 reports that the mystery containers held “components that were believed to be for a Fagot anti-tank guided missile system.” The Ukrainian border guard, the DPSU, released photographs of the contraband equipment.
Iran has been accused of training Palestinian terrorists in the use of missiles like the Fagot system after the Palestinians demonstrated poor combat skills during their 2009 clash with Israel.
Iran and Russia enjoy friendly relations, particularly in the realm of cooperation in defense. Both support Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and lead multilateral peace talks in Kazakhstan which began on Monday. Iran also allows Russia to use its territory as a base from which it can launch attacks on anti-Assad targets in Syria. A
A November report indicated that Russia and Iran were negotiating the sale of $10 billion in firearms, tanks, and warplanes to Tehran. The talks followed the lifting of international sanctions on Iran in light of President Barack Obama’s acceptance of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA), the Iran nuclear deal.