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Following missile strikes targeting Kyiv earlier this week, Russia may look to further escalate the conflict by recruiting Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)-affiliated personnel.
Vladimir Putin may have brought these armed forces to occupied areas in the Ukraine in order to train Russian troops to be able to use Shahed-136 drones.
On Wednesday (October 12), the Ukrainian Resistance Centre reported that Russian forces had brought an unspecified number of Iranian instructors to Dzankoi in Crimea and Zalizniy Port and Hladivtsi in Kherson Oblast.
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The centre believe their recruitment to occupied regions in Ukraine was indeed to teach Russian forces how to use Shahed-136 attack drones that will be used on civilian targets.
The Resistance Centre stated that the Iranian instructors directly control the launch of drones in regions such as Mykolaiv and Odesa.
The IRGC is the primary operator of Iran‘s drone inventory which make it likely that the Iranian drone instructors are potentially IRGC or IRGC-affiliated personnel.
The US, which opposes the activities of the IRGC – who are also known as Sepah – has considered the IRGC as a terrorist organisation since April 2019, while there were reports that had stated some top CIA and Pentagon officials opposed the nation's stance.
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This designation was criticised by governments including Turkey, Iraq and China as well as the Islamic Consultative Assembly, Iran's parliament, where members wore IRGC uniforms in protest of the US's viewpoint.
Despite the US' stance on the matter, the IRGC has never in fact been designated as a terrorist organisation by the United Nations.
The European Union has also not recognised the IRGC as a terrorist group either, however, they do have sanctions in place on the organisation.
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