Suspicions were raised during the conflict in Ukraine that drones used by Russia to attack the cities of the invaded country would originate from Iran. This Saturday (5) the government of Iran confirmed that it sent these unmanned aircraft to Russia before the invasion, reversing its previous position of denial.
The revelation came from the Iranian foreign minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, who told reporters in Tehran that “Some Western countries have accused Iran of aiding in the war in Ukraine by providing Russia with drones and missiles. The part about the missiles is completely wrong. The part about the drones is correct, in fact we supplied a small number of drones to Russia months before the start of the war in Ukraine.”
The minister says he has reached an agreement with the Ukraine to jointly examine evidence of the use of Iranian drones in warfare collected in the conflict. Iran reportedly planned to send a delegation to speak with Ukrainian officials in Europe, but the meeting was reportedly canceled by Kiev, according to Hossein. “A military and political delegation went to that European country, but unfortunately, at the last minute, the Ukrainian delegation did not attend due to pressure from the US and some European countries, in particular Germany”, he alleges. The disagreement would have been two weeks ago.
The plan to jointly examine the evidence continues and should happen in the coming days, says the Iranian official, who spoke with Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba last week. A spokesman for Dmytro, Oleg Nikolenko, said on Facebook that the “insinuations about an alleged refusal on the part of the Ukrainian side” are false. “If it turns out that Russia used Iranian drones in the war against Ukraine, we will not remain indifferent to this issue,” said Hossein. “Our position is to stop the war and for the parties to return to negotiations.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Tehran of lying about the “small number” of drones, as the armed forces of your country were shooting down at least ten a day — on Friday (4) drones were shot down. “If Iran continues to lie about the obvious, it means that the world will apply even more efforts to investigate the terrorist cooperation between the Russian and Iranian regimes and what Russia gives in exchange for such cooperation,” Zelensky said in his speech on Wednesday. video.
Robert Malley, US special envoy to Iran, confirmed on social media that the low number of drones sent is untrue. “They transferred dozens over the summer” and even have “military personnel in occupied Ukraine helping Russia to use them,” Malley claimed. The United States this week announced a new aid package for Ukraine that includes 45 refurbished Soviet tanks. American assistance since the invasion in February is estimated at US$18,2 billion (R$92 billion).
Russian attacks using drones have intensified in recent weeks, including against civilian targets and critical infrastructure such as dams and power plants. Drones are able to fly in circles over the same area until they identify the target, detonating themselves on impact. Ukrainian authorities say they managed to overthrow 300 them.
CNN International reported that anonymous Western government sources monitoring the weapons program Iran, allege that the country plans to send more drones and ballistic missiles to Putin to help him in the war effort against Zelensky. The same sources say that the last shipment was of 450 drones.
Last month, the agency Reuters obtained confirmation of the plan to send missiles from two high-ranking Iranian officials and two diplomats from the country. The European Union has decided to impose new sanctions on Iran over the delivery of drones to Russia. The UK has sanctioned three Iranian military leaders.