The White House said on Wednesday that Iran not only sold deadly drones to Russia, but “assisted” Russia as it carried out attacks from annexed Crimea.
White House national security spokesman John Kirby made the startling allegation after Russia carried out a series of attacks on civilian infrastructure using what videos showed and Ukrainian officials identified. as Iranian drones.
“We can confirm that Russian military personnel based in Crimea flew Iranian drones [unmanned aerial vehicles]using them to carry out strikes across Ukraine, including strikes against Kyiv in recent days,” Kirby said.
“We believe that Iranian military personnel on the ground in Crimea assisted Russia in these operations,” he added.
White House National Security Council Strategic Communications Coordinator John Kirby says Iranian military personnel ‘on the ground in Crimea assisted’ Russian operations using Iran-supplied drones to attack Ukraine
“Iranian military personnel were on the ground in Crimea and participated in these operations,” Kirby continued. “Russia has received dozens of drones so far and will likely continue to receive additional deliveries in the future.”
In another comment, he said it was the Russians who were piloting the drones remotely.
“The information we have is that the Iranians have sent trainers and technical support to Crimea, but the Russians are in charge,” he said.
Amid deadly attacks, Ukrainian President Volodymyr continued to plead with US and NATO allies for more defenses.
It came after Israel refused to supply Ukraine with its Iron Dome missile defense system.
Even before the US statement on Iranian forces in Crimea, Ukraine signaled its fury over arms sales and the Foreign Ministry submitted a proposal to sever diplomatic ties with Tehran.
The Shahed-136 killer is not having a major impact on the battlefield, but Russia appears to be using them to shell Ukrainian cities, in what could be an effort to try and sap morale in the war, which has started in February.
Ukraine and the United States have blasted what several videos and images reveal to be Russia’s use of Iranian-made drones
Members of the emergency services respond to a fire after a Russian attack targeting energy infrastructure in Kyiv, Ukraine on October 18, 2022
A “killer” drone flies over kyiv
Russia’s repeated bombings of Ukraine are part of an effort to “bully” people there into trying to force their surrender, President Biden said at the White House on Wednesday.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has repeatedly condemned Russia’s use of drones and called for additional defensive help from the United States and its allies.
A drone is seen in the sky seconds before firing at buildings in Kyiv, Ukraine on October 17, 2022
President Biden and President Zelensky each rejected the tactic, saying it would only further unify the Ukrainian population.
Kirby’s stark statements came on a day when Biden feared that US political support for Ukraine would wane if Republicans took control of Congress, following comments by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
“I’m worried,” Biden told reporters on a trip to Pittsburgh.
Biden said Wednesday that Russia’s repeated attacks on civilian targets in Ukraine were an effort by Russian President Vladimir Putin to force Ukrainians to surrender – and that it will fail.
He was asked about Putin’s latest ploy, declaring martial law in four annexed Ukrainian territories seized by Russia, in the last ditch effort to use force to try to impose order and control.
“I think Vladimir Putin is in an incredibly difficult position,” Biden told reporters, pausing to collect his thoughts while holding up a binder of documents.
“And what that tells me is that it seems like his only tool at his disposal is to bully Ukrainian citizens, Ukrainian citizens, to try to intimidate them into capitulating. They’re not going to do that,” he said.
The United States has already heavily sanctioned Iran, but arms sales could provide additional answers.