Iran plans to supply Russia with hundreds of weapons-capable UAVs for use in Ukraineaccording to a senior US official.
White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said the information the United States has received supports views that Russia’s heavy bombing of Ukraine, which has cemented gains in the east of the country in recent weeks, has been “at the expense of support from its own weapons.”
The Iranian government is preparing to supply Russia with up to several hundred UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles]including drones with the ability to make weapons, on a fast schedule,” Sullivan said.
“Our information further indicates that Iran is preparing to train Russian forces to use these drones, and initial training courses are scheduled to begin as soon as early July.”
Sullivan said it was not yet clear whether Iran had delivered any of the drones to Russia.
He pointed out that Houthi fighters in Yemen used Iranian drones to attack Saudi Arabia.
Drones have played an important role on both sides of the war in Ukraine, in everything from firing missiles from a distance, to dropping bomblets on targets, to conducting reconnaissance for artillery and ground forces.
Ukrainian forces have had particular success using Turkish-made Bayraktar combat drones, and the United States and other allies have provided Kyiv with many types of smaller drones.
“From our point of view, we will continue to do our part to help maintain Ukraine’s effective defense and to help Ukrainians show that Russian efforts to try 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 malign activities in the region will be a major topic of discussion.
The US decision to publicly disclose that the two countries’ main regional rival was helping to rearm Russia comes as both Israel and Saudi Arabia have resisted joining global efforts to punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine because of their domestic interests.
Russia A crushing attack in eastern Ukraine It appears ready to continue, despite fierce Ukrainian resistance emboldened by recent deliveries of Western artillery, as the Ukrainian military has warned that Russian forces were likely planning some of their fiercest attacks yet in the Donetsk region.
With the end of the fighting still not near, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said during a visit to Kyiv that his country would provide Ukraine with more long-range artillery and a €200 million (US$201 million) aid package.
On Monday, the Secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, Oleksiy Danilov, said that Western weapons – especially long-range artillery – “really changed the course of the war”.
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