- Russia and Iran are exploring joint production of deadly drones, NBC News reported.
- “Iran has become Russia’s main military supporter,” said US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby.
- Russia launched new attacks on Ukraine on Saturday using Iranian-made drones, according to reports.
Russia is considering collaborating with Iran on weapons development, which would include establishing a joint production line for deadly drones, senior US officials say, according to NBC News.
“This partnership poses a threat not only to Ukraine but also to Iran’s neighbors in the region,” a senior official said, according to NBC News.
This was later confirmed by US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby, who said on Friday that the United States had seen reports that the two countries were considering setting up a drone assembly line in Russia, according to BBC News.
“Russia seeks to collaborate with Iran in areas such as weapons development, training,” he said, according to the outlet.
“Iran has become Russia’s main military backer,” Kirby continued, according to BBC News. “Russia is using Iranian drones to strike energy infrastructure, depriving millions of Ukrainians of electricity, heat and essential services. Today, Ukrainians are dying because of Iran’s actions.”
The Wall Street Journal reported that Russia launched new attacks on Ukraine on Saturday morning using Iranian-made drones. Ukraine’s Southern Command said it shot down 10 unmanned aerial systems in Kherson, Mykolaiv and Odessa regions, according to the newspaper.
Britain’s ambassador to the UN, Barbara Woodward, said on Friday that Iran had transferred hundreds of drones to Russia since August, according to The Guardian. She added that these had been used to “kill civilians and unlawfully target civilian infrastructure” in Ukraine, The Guardian reported.
Woodward also said Russia wants “hundreds” of ballistic missiles from Iran and is offering “unprecedented” military support in return.
For months, Russia has used Iranian-made drones — including the Shahed-136 suicide drone — to carry out deadly attacks on Ukrainian cities, Insider Jake Epstein reported.
On Tuesday, an unnamed Western official said Moscow appeared to be short of Iranian-made drones, but ABC News reported that it was planning a “resupply”.
Iran initially denied sending drones to Russia before later admitting it had supplied them before the invasion of Ukraine, BBC News reported.
On Saturday, Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong said in a statement: “The supply of drones to Russia is proof of Iran’s role in destabilizing global security. This list emphasizes that those who provide material support to Russia will suffer the consequences.