Iran supplies hundreds of combat drones to Russia, US says | Russia


Iran plans to provide Russia with hundreds of weapon-capable drones for use in Ukraine, a top US official said.

Jake Sullivan, the White House’s national security adviser, said the information received by the US supports the view that Russia’s heavy bombing of Ukraine, which has led to consolidation of gains in the east of the country in recent weeks, “at the expense of preserving the of its own weapons”.

“The Iranian government is preparing to supply Russia with several hundred UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles]including UAVs with weapons, on an accelerated timeline,” Sullivan said.

“Our information further indicates that Iran is preparing to train Russian forces to use these UAVs, with the first training sessions scheduled to begin in early July.”

Sullivan said it is not clear whether Iran has already supplied any of the drones to Russia.

He noted that Iran’s drones had been used by the Houthi rebels in Yemen to attack Saudi Arabia.

Drones have played a vital role on both sides of the war in Ukraine, from firing missiles from a distance, to dropping small bombs at targets, to conducting reconnaissance for artillery and ground forces.

Ukraine’s armed forces have had particular success using Turkish-made Bayraktar-armed combat UAVs, and the US and other allies have supplied Kiev with many types of smaller drones.

“From our perspective, we will continue to do our part to support the effective defense of Ukraine and help the Ukrainians show that the Russian effort to wipe Ukraine off the map cannot succeed,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan’s revelation comes on the eve of President Joe Biden’s trip to Israel and Saudi Arabia, where Iran’s nuclear program and the region’s evil activities will be a major topic of discussion.

The US decision to publicly reveal that the two countries’ main regional rival helped Russia rearm comes as both Israel and Saudi Arabia have resisted joining the global effort to punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine for their domestic interests.

Russia’s massive offensive into eastern Ukraine looks set to continue despite fierce Ukrainian resistance, encouraged by recent deliveries of West-supplied artillery, with the Ukrainian military warning that Russian forces were likely planning some of their heaviest attacks until so far in the Donetsk region .

With no end in sight to the fighting, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said during a visit to Kiev that his country would provide Ukraine with more long-range artillery and a €200 million (US$201 million) aid package.

Western weapons — especially precision, long-range artillery — were “already changing the course of the war,” Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council secretary Oleksiy Danilov said Monday.

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