Putin's trip to Iran is a 'sign of weakness' says expert
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Former US Ambassador to Ukraine John Herbst has exposed that Vladimir Putin has made his second international trip since he launched the invasion of Ukraine in a bid to get more weapons. Ambassador Herbst says Putin feels the war is “not going the way he expected” despite Russian troops making gains into the eastern and southern part of Ukraine. As a potential sign of an upcoming change of tide, Putin is seeking to reinforce his arsenal of weapons.
When asked why Putin is making the trip now, Ambassador Herbst told VOA: “I think this trip is a sign of weakness. And he’s going to Iran in part because has a weapons problem.
“And the fact that he’s seeking weapons from Iran is a very telling marker that in fact, the war is not going the way he’s expected and that his wanted advantage – which is not a false advantage – in military equipment is by no means overwhelming and by no means decisive.
“The way I describe this – you know, I’m not a military expert – people who have more credentials than me in military analysis describe the Russian military as having the second or third most powerful conventional force in the world, right?
“Whether it’s China or Russia, I don’t know who’s second. While the second or third most powerful military in the world has been stopped by a country of much smaller size, a much weaker military and with far fewer weapons.”
“And again, the fact that they go hat in hand to the Iranians is an indication of that,” Ambassador Herbst said.
“So, Putin is there to shore support with Iran because at the moment, he needs their drones.”
Putin went to his first summit outside Russia since the beginning of the war in Tehran, Iran, in a bid to strike a weapons deal with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
According to US officials, Iran is preparing to help supply Russia with several hundred unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones. However, neither Iran nor Russia has so far confirmed the statement.
“Russia deepening an alliance with Iran to kill Ukrainians is something that the whole world should look at and see as a profound threat,” U.S. National Security adviser Jake Sullivan said.
John Kirby, the White House’s chief National Security Council spokesman, told reporters there was no indication yet that Iran has given drones to Russia.
According to Global Firepower, an index collecting data from 142 modern military powers, Russia has the second most powerful military force in the world, trailing behind the United States.
Russia has just under 70 million people available for military service, with just under 47 million who are deemed fit for service, Global Firepower finds. It has 850,000 active personnel and 250,000 in reserve, for a total of 1,350,000, according to Global Firepower, while the IISS’s Military Balance estimates Russia’s active personnel strength to be 900,000.
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The potential weapons deal with Iran comes as Putin is about to annex some Russian-controlled Ukrainian territories to Russia, US intelligence reports.
Russia has made significant advances in Donetsk – which has fallen under full Russian control – and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine.
However, the tide seems to be turning as Ukrainian forces are holding the line in the eastern Donbas region, British military intelligence reports
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