In a briefing by Ned Price of the State Department, he said that the US has proof that Iranian troops are directly engaged in the Ukraine war.
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Despite protests from the Kremlin, the EU on Thursday imposed further sanctions on Iran for providing “kamikaze” drones to the Russian military for use in the conflict in Ukraine.
The new move, which also has American support, lists three Iranian generals as well as arms producers as targets. EU ambassadors “agreed on measures against entities supplying Iranian drones that hit Ukraine after three days of talks,” according to a statement from the Czech president of the EU. The EU is also poised to impose sanctions on four additional Iranian businesses that were previously listed on a sanctions list.
According to the AFP, “the Revolutionary Guards drone commander Brigadier General Saeed Aghajani, logistics officer General Sayed Hojatollah Qureishi, and the chief of staff of Iran’s armed forces, Major General Mohammed Hossein Bagheri, were sanctioned.”
The EU’s actions followed a summit of its 27 foreign ministers, which Charles Michel, the head of the European Council, presided over. The group took “swift action against Iran who supports Russia’s war in Ukraine,” according to a statement.
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At the beginning of this week, the Ukrainian government claimed that Russia had sent hundreds of Iranian drones to attack its cities. It also claimed that over 220 Iranian UAVs had been shot down by air defences over the course of the previous week, following the intensified Russian aerial bombardment that started on October 10.
The EU wants to punish the maker of the Shahed-136 drones made by the Islamic Republic in particular since it believes that these drones are the ones that are currently bombarding Ukrainian cities and energy infrastructure, killing hundreds of people as well.
Given that the drone transfers are a “open violation” of a UNSC resolution, the US is currently pressuring the UNSC to act immediately. According to critics of Russia’s claims, there is “abundant proof,” as stated in a briefing by Ned Price of the State Department.
Given that the drone transfers are a “open violation” of a UNSC resolution, the US is currently pressuring the UNSC to act immediately. According to critics of Russia’s claims, there is “abundant evidence,” as stated in a briefing by Ned Price of the State Department.
“The United States began warning in July that Iran was planning to transfer UAVs to Russia for use in Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine, and we now have abundant evidence that these UAVs are being used to strike Ukrainian civilians and critical civilian infrastructure,” Price said in a statement. France and the UK also backed the US findings which were presented in a closed door UNSC meeting on Wednesday.
In a separate statement, the Pentagon vowed to make it “harder” for Russia to purchase its weapons, while also issuing a warning that the US thinks Tehran will soon provide Moscow with conventional missiles. The Russian military is being assisted by Iranian trainers and technicians, said to spokesman John Kirby, but Russians are running the UAVs. He said that IRGC agents were already in Crimea.
The White House said Thursday that the U.S. has evidence that Iranian troops are “directly engaged on the ground” in Crimea supporting Russian drone attacks on Ukraine’s infrastructure and civilian population.
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters that Iran has sent a “relatively small number” of personnel to Crimea, a part of Ukraine unilaterally annexed by Russia in contravention of international law in 2014, to assist Russian troops in launching Iranian-made drones against Ukraine.
New Washington Post reporting suggests the Pentagon and US intelligence have recovered downed drone wreckage, which would be crucial in studying how to enable Ukraine forces to better defend against them. “The US government has examined the wreckage of Iranian-made drones shot down in Ukraine, deepening its insight into the unmanned craft that Russia has launched in a spate of kamikaze attacks on the country’s critical infrastructure, according to two U.S. officials,” the report says.
WaPo continues: “Information about the drones’ structure and technology could prove crucial in helping the United States and its Ukrainian allies better identify and ultimately defeat them before they can reach their targets.” And further: “Officials said the process has been used in the past to study weaponry deployed by Iran’s proxies in conflicts in the Middle East.”