Putin aide in security scare after helicopter makes emergency landing in Iran

by 24britishtvJan. 19, 2023, 11:20 p.m. 16
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A close ally of Vladimir Putin was forced into an emergency helicopter landing on a football pitch in Iran due to "security issues".

Igor Levitin, 70, had been on a “secret” visit to the country as Moscow is desperate to speed up deliveries of Iranian missiles and military drones for use in Ukraine.

However, his clandestine trip had been exposed before the unscheduled landing in the northern city of Astara, which delayed a football match for 40 minutes.

Levitin, one of Putin's closes aides, was with two Iranian officials en route to launch a railway project to enable links via Azerbaijan between the two countries.

Mehr news agency said the impromptu landing was due to “security issues” - but it did not give further details.

Levitin, a former Russian transport minister, was with the governor of a region bordering Azerbaijan in the helicopter.

The emergency landing followed a surprise decision to postpone at the last minute scheduled talks between Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov and his Tehran counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.

Russia is deepening ties with Iran but there are rumours of exasperation in Putin’s circles over the lack of speed in deliveries of missiles and drones he urgently needs for his war in Ukraine.

Both countries are seeking routes around Western sanctions.

Levitan had earlier offered to supply Russian military helicopters to Iran, the latest effort by Moscow to seek rushed deliveries of the rockets and kamikaze drones by Tehran, say reports.

The evidence is that Levitin had travelled to Iran to meet Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of the Iranian Supreme National Security Council (SNCS).

He also met the governor of the Central Bank of Iran, Mohammad Reza Farzin, according to the hardline Tasnim News Agency.

But the Putin envoy’s trip only came to light when he was spotted in an uncaptioned picture by the SNSC's media affiliate, Nour News. Only after this was the trip announced.

There have been reports that Putin, 70, is being made to “grovel and beg” help from the Iranians due to shortages of Russian-made firepower.

Putin has offered to help the Tehran regime crush dissent in Iran.

Russia urgently needs Fateh-110 and Zolfaghar missiles from Iran, and continuing supplies of Shahed-136 and Shahed-131 kamikaze drones.

It comes after one of Putin's henchmen directly threatened the West with nuclear war if Russia is defeated in Ukraine.

Dmitry Medvedev, who has been serving as the deputy chairman of the Security Council of Russia since 2020, appeared to be warning NATO leaders to halt supplies of major new arms to Kyiv.

Medvedev, who served as Russian president from 2008 to 2012 and prime minister between 2012 and 2020, said: "Tomorrow at the Ramstein base in [Germany], the great military leaders will discuss new tactics and strategy, as well as deliveries of new heavy weapons and strike systems to Ukraine.

"And this is right after the Davos Forum, where underdeveloped [Western] political party goers repeat like a mantra: 'To achieve peace, Russia must lose'."

If Russia loses, it would trigger nuclear war, said Medvedev, as he strongly implied his boss Putin's and Russia's "fate" depends on him not being defeated in the bloody war he launched 11 months ago.

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