Tehran is prepared to deliver several hundred unmanned UAVs as well as armed drones to Moscow to strengthen its assault on Ukraine and will train Russian forces as soon as this month, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan says.
Russia is turning to Iran to provide it with "hundreds" of unmanned aerial vehicles, including weapons-capable drones, for use in its ongoing assault on Ukraine, the White House has said.
US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said on Monday it was unclear whether Iran had already provided any of the unmanned systems to Russia, but said the US has "information" that indicates Iran is preparing to train Russian forces to use them as soon as this month.
"Our information indicates that the Iranian government is preparing to provide Russia with up to several hundred UAVs, including weapons-capable UAVs on an expedited timeline," he told reporters.
Sullivan said it was proof that Russia's overwhelming bombardments in Ukraine, which have led it to consolidate gains in the country's east in recent weeks, were "coming at a cost to the sustainment of its own weapons."
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Jake Sullivan with some news: Says US has intelligence that Iran is preparing to provide Russia with UAVs to use in Ukraine and is preparing to train the Russians how to use them.— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) July 11, 2022
Four-way virtual summit
Sullivan's revelation comes on the eve of President Joe Biden's trip to Israel and Saudi Arabia, where Iran's nuclear programme and regional policies will be a key subject of discussion.
Sullivan noted that Iran has provided similar unmanned aerial vehicles to Yemen's Houthi rebels to attack Saudi Arabia before a ceasefire was reached earlier this year.
Biden will participate in a four-way virtual summit with the leaders of Israel, the United Arab Emirates and India during his trip, Sullivan said.
Sullivan told reporters that the summit will focus on food security.
Drones have played a crucial role on both sides of the fighting in Ukraine, for everything from firing missiles from a distance, to dropping small bombs on targets, to conducting reconnaissance for artillery forces and ground troops.
"From our perspective, we will continue to do our part to help sustain the effective defense of Ukraine and to help the Ukrainians show that the Russian effort to try to wipe Ukraine off the map cannot succeed," Sullivan said.
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