After Iran Admits Supply Drones to Russia, Zelenskyy Claims Tehran Is Lying: Iran admitted on Saturday that it had supplied Russia with several attack drones. However, it claimed that they were sent before the war in Ukraine began.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian told state-run media that only a small number of drones had been provided to Russia, and denied that weapons shipments to Russia continue to this day.
“We gave a limited number of drones to Russia months before the Ukraine war,” the Iranian government official claimed.
Zelenskyy Says Iran Is Lying
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy quickly took Iran to task over the claims, suggesting on Telegram that at least 10 Iranian drones are being destroyed by Ukrainian forces every day.
Zelenskyy reiterated the claim that Tehran isn’t being honest about how many drones have been sent to Russia during his nightly address on Saturday, claiming that 11 drones had been shot down on Friday alone.
“If Iran continues to lie about the obvious, it means the world will make even more efforts to continue to investigate the terrorist cooperation between the Russian and Iranian regimes and what Russia pays Iran for such cooperation,” Zelenskyy said in a televised address.
U.S. officials accused Tehran of lying about supplying Russia with weapons this weekend, too. U.S. Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley took to Twitter to dismiss Amir-Abdollahian’s claim, accusing Tehran of sending weapons as well as soldiers to Ukraine.
Retweeting a story from CNN, Malley said Iran “didn’t give a limited number of drones before the war.”
“They transferred dozens just this summer & have military personnel in occupied Ukraine helping Russia use them against Ukrainians civilians. Confronted with evidence, they need a new policy, not a new story,” Malley said.
Iran Still Preparing to Send Additional Weapons
While Iran continues to deny sending drones to Russia, western officials believe that the country is still preparing to send new weapons, including ballistic missiles, to Russia.
According to unnamed officials from a western country who spoke to CNN, Iran is preparing to send as many as 1,000 additional weapons to Russia, including more attack drones and a number of surface-to-surface short-range ballistic missiles.
The officials said that the shipment is being closely monitored at present, and should it go ahead, it would be the first time that Iran has sent advanced precision-guided missiles to Russia. The missiles could help Russia prevent new Ukrainian counter-offensive, or could even assist the Russian military in continuing a recent spate of missile strikes on urban population centers across Ukraine.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.