Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Saturday Iran is still downplaying its supplying of drones to Russia following its “confession” that it was sending them, The Hill reports.
Iran’s Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian acknowledged on Saturday for the first time that his country gave drones to Russia, saying that the deliveries happened before the war started. Iranian officials had previously denied sending any drones to Russia.
The foreign minister said Iran does not know about how the drones are being used in Ukraine. Tehran has maintained that it is officially neutral in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
Zelenskyy later said in an address to the Ukrainian people that he knows Iran’s claims are false.
He said Ukrainian forces shoot down at least 10 Iranian drones per day, and officials know that Iranian instructors have taught the Russians how to use the drones, even though Tehran has remained quiet on this.
“And if Iran continues lying about the obvious, it means that the world will make even more efforts to investigate the terrorist cooperation between the Russian and Iranian regimes and what Russia is paying Iran for such cooperation,” Zelenskyy said, according to The Hill.
“There will be no such thing in the modern world that any of the terrorists or their accomplices will remain unpunished,” he continued.
In July US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said the US had intelligence indicating that Russia is looking to Iran for UAVs.
He indicated at the time that the Iranian government is preparing to provide Russia with several UAVs for use in Ukraine, and train Russian forces to use these UAVs.
A month later, it was reported that Iran had begun training Russians to use its drones, though it was also noted that Russia is experiencing “numerous failures” and technical glitches with the drones it purchased from Iran.
In September, Ukraine reported the first Russian attacks carried out using Iranian-made drones, targeting the south of the country, including the strategic city of Odessa on the Black Sea.
At the start of October, Iranian-made drones were also reportedly used in an attack in the Ukrainian town of Bila Tserkva, southwest of the capital Kyiv.
Ukraine has announced it would downgrade diplomatic ties with Iran and strip the ambassador of his accreditation over Iran’s assistance to Russia.