For the first time, the Iranian government admitted, Saturday, to sending a “limited number” of drones to Russia in the months before the start of its invasion of Ukraine.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian’s statement comes after Tehran previously denied that it had supplied Russia with weapons for use in Ukraine, saying it “has not and will not.”
Hossein Amir Abdollahian did not say whether the drones supplied to Moscow were of the type that carry explosives.
Hossein Amir Abdollahian said, “Some Western countries accuse Iran of aiding 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, we have provided a limited number of drones to Russia in the months before the start of the war in Ukraine.
Self-explosive drones have played an important role in the conflict since Russia launched its invasion in late February.
Russia has launched a series of drone attacks across Ukraine in recent weeks, targeting vital civilian infrastructure, sowing terror in Ukrainian cities far from the front lines of the war. Ukrainian officials said last week that they had shot down more than 300 Iranian drones.
Officials from a Western country that closely monitors Iran’s weapons program told CNN that Iran is preparing to send more attack drones, along with short-range surface-to-surface ballistic missiles, to Russia for use in its war against Ukraine.
Officials said the latest arms shipment from Iran to Russia included about 450 drones, which the Russians had already used to cause a deadly effect in Ukraine.
Abdullahian claimed that Tehran had reached an agreement with Ukraine to review evidence that Russia had used Iranian drones in the war.
“We agreed with the Foreign Minister of Ukraine to provide us with any documents they have that Russia used Iranian drones in Ukraine,” he said, adding that an Iranian delegation “was planning to meet with Ukrainian officials in Europe to discuss this issue, but the meeting was canceled by Kyiv.”
He added: “We had an appointment like this two weeks ago in a European country, a military and political delegation went to that European country, but unfortunately at the last moment the Ukrainian delegation did not attend due to pressure from the United States and some European countries, in particular Germany.”
Iran’s foreign minister said he spoke to his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba last week and they agreed to allow Iran to review any evidence Ukraine had in the coming days.
“Of course, if it is proven that Russia used Iranian drones in the war against Ukraine, we will not remain indifferent to this issue,” Abdullahian said.
He continued, “Our position on the war in Ukraine is to stop the war, bring the parties back to negotiations, and return the displaced to their homes.”