The United States warned that Russia would deepen defense ties between Moscow and Tehran by using Iranian drones to attack Ukrainian targets, prompting Russia to provide advanced military support, including air defense systems, to Iran. are accused of providing
White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Russia is providing Iran with an “unprecedented level of military and technical assistance that transforms the relationship between the two countries into a full-fledged defense partnership.” , citing an assessment of US intelligence agencies.
Washington, which has previously denounced security cooperation between Iran and Russia, on Friday described a wide range of ties, including equipment such as helicopters, fighter jets and drones, the latter item being a new U.S. brought about sanctions.
Kirby said Russia and Iran are considering setting up a drone assembly line in Russia for the Ukrainian conflict, Russia is training Iranian pilots in Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets, and Iran The plane is expected to be delivered by the end of the year.
“These fighter jets will greatly strengthen Iran’s air force compared to its regional neighbors,” Kirby said.
The West has accused Iran of supplying Russia with drones for its war with Ukraine as it attacks Russia’s energy infrastructure in a bid to gain an edge in the bloody conflict. ing.
Kirby said the US would impose sanctions on three Russian-based entities active in “acquiring and using Iranian drones.”
The sanctions apply to the Russian Aerospace Forces, the 924th State Unmanned Aerial Center, and the Military Transport Aviation Command.
“The United States will continue to use all means at its disposal to impede these transfers and impose consequences on those engaged in this activity,” Secretary of State Antony Brinken said in a statement on the sanctions. Stated.
Last month, Tehran admitted to sending drones to Russia, but claimed they had been supplied before Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
The US also believes Iran is considering selling “hundreds of ballistic missiles” to Russia, Kirby said.
British Foreign Secretary James Cleverley said in a statement that Iran sent drones to Russia in exchange for “military and technical support” from Moscow, targeting a “sneaky deal” between Moscow and Tehran. determined.
This “will increase the risks it poses to our partners in the Middle East and to international security,” Mr Cleverley said, promising “the UK will continue to expose this doomed alliance and hold both sides to account.” did.
Meanwhile, Moscow accuses the West of supplying Ukraine with weapons that are not only in Europe, but also in the wrong hands in Africa and the Middle East.
Russia’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Vasily Nebenzya, referred to recent comments by Nigerian President Mohammed Buhari, saying weapons and fighter jets from Ukraine were heading to the Lake Chad region to support gangsters.
Al Jazeera’s Kristen Salumi said UK ambassador to the UN Barbara Woodward did not directly address Nebenzha’s allegations ahead of Friday’s UN Security Council meeting, but Ukraine has the right to defend itself against Russia. said.
“She went on to say that the UK believes buying weapons from Iran violates international agreements, and beyond drones, Russia is now trying to acquire ballistic missiles from Iran, and North Korea South Korea,” Salumi said from the United Nations headquarters in New York.
‘Disappointed’ Merkel Statement
Meanwhile, President Vladimir Putin said that any country launching a nuclear attack on Moscow would be “wiped out” and that Russian weapons would be able to respond by force.
He also expressed disappointment with former German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s recent remarks about the Ukraine-Minsk deal.
Putin said the parties to the Minsk accords that led to ceasefire agreements between Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine in 2014 and 2015 betrayed Russia by supplying Ukraine with weapons.
In an interview published in Germany’s Zeit magazine on Wednesday, Chancellor Angela Merkel said the Minsk agreements were an attempt to “give time” to Ukraine to build its defenses.
Russia interpreted Merkel’s remarks as saying that the Minsk peace plan was signed only to give Ukraine time to arm itself and prepare for war with Russia.
“Honestly, this was completely unexpected for me. told reporters in Bishkek.
“I have always believed that the leadership of the Federal Republic of Germany would behave loyally towards us,” Putin said.
“However, the German leadership has always seemed sincere in its efforts to find solutions based on the principles we agreed upon and achieved above all within the framework of the Minsk process. ”