On Friday, Iran urged its citizens in Ukraine to leave the country and warned against travel to the war-torn nation a day after the United States accused Tehran of aiding Russia’s war effort.
“Due to military escalation in Ukraine, all Iranians are strongly advised to refrain from traveling to Ukraine. In addition, Iranians living in Ukraine are advised to leave the country for their own safety,” the Foreign Ministry said. Iranian in a note. Reuters.
The ministry did not mention comments made Thursday by White House national security spokesman John Kirby, who said the US had learned that Iranian troops were “directly engaged in the field” in Crimea to help Russia.
IRANIAN TROOPS IN CRIMEA TRAIN RUSSIANS ON DRONE STRIKES AGAINST UKRAINE, SAYS THE WHITE HOUSE
Western officials in July warned that Tehran would “gift” hundreds of Ariel unmanned vehicles (UAVs) to Moscow as Russian troops in Ukraine falter and its progression stall.
Since September, Russia has significantly increased the number of drone strikes carried out on civilian and infrastructure-based targets, such as Ukraine’s electrical systems.
Kirby confirmed Thursday that not only has Iran provided drones, but Iranian military personnel have been placed in Crimea to help Russian forces fly Tehran’s UAVs.
IRAN NOW SELLS MISSILES TO RUSSIA, ADDING KAMIKAZE TO ITS DRONES, REPORT
Moscow has relied on missile strikes since the onslaught of the war, and Kiev has repeatedly called on Western allies to assist with air defense as Russian forces have been pushed back to the ground but continue to attack from the air.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy last week urged G7 nations to assist Kiev in creating an “air shield” – a request that could become even more urgent following Kirby’s suggestion that Tehran could provide additional missile systems to Russia. .
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“Russia may also seek to acquire advanced conventional weapons from Iran, such as surface-to-surface missiles which will almost certainly be used to support the war against Ukraine,” Kirby told reporters.
He did not specifically mention Zelenskyy’s demands for an “air shield”, but said: “The United States will pursue all means to expose, deter and address Iran’s supply of this ammunition against the Ukrainian people.”