Monday, November 28, 2022

Russian military personnel in Crimea have been piloting Iranian drones: US

The US has alleged that Russian military personnel based in Crimea have been piloting Iranian drones and asserted that it will pursue all means to expose, deter and confront Iran’s provision of these munitions against the Ukrainian people.
John Kirby, NSC Coordinator for Strategic Communications, also claimed that there was clear evidence that Iranian military personnel were on the ground in Crimea.
“We can confirm that Russian military personnel that are based in Crimea have been piloting Iranian UAVs, using them to conduct strikes across Ukraine, including strikes against Kyiv in just recent days,” Kirby told reporters during a conference call here on Thursday.
“We assess that Iranian military personnel were on the ground in Crimea and assisted Russia in these operations. Russia has received dozens of UAVs so far and will likely continue to receive additional shipments in the future,” he said.
Furthermore, in light of Russia’s ongoing supply shortages, he said the US is concerned that Russia may also seek to acquire advanced conventional weapons from Iran, such as surface-to-surface missiles that will almost certainly be used to support the war against Ukraine.
“There’s extensive proof of their use by Russia against both military and civilian targets there. Yet both Iran and Russia continue to lie about it, denying that Iran is providing weapons to Russia for use in Ukraine. Iran and Russia, they can lie to the world, but they certainly can’t hide the facts,” he told reporters.
He further alleged that Tehran is now directly engaged on the ground and through the provision of weapons that are impacting civilians and civilian infrastructure in Ukraine that are killing civilians and destroying civilian infrastructure in Ukraine.
“So, let’s be very clear: The United States is going to pursue all means to expose, deter, and confront Iran’s provision of these munitions against the Ukrainian people. We’re going to continue to vigorously enforce all US sanctions on both the Russian and Iranian arms trade,” Kirby said.
“We’re going to make it harder for Iran to sell these weapons to Russia. We’re going to help the Ukrainians have what they need to defend themselves against these threats. And we’re going to continue to stand with our partners throughout the Middle East region against the Iranian threat,” he said.
Responding to a question, he said that the Defence Department is looking actively right now at potential air defence solutions for the Ukrainians.
“DOD is well aware of the threat and is working hard to see what they can do to help the Ukrainians deal with the threat,” he said.

SourcePTI
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