US says it has not seen any signs of Russia buying drones from Iran
“But [looking to Iran for drones] shows every indication that he wants to continue to prosecute this war, continue to find new ways to kill Ukrainians,” a senior White House official told Al Arabiya English.
The US said Tuesday that it has not seen Russia buy any drones from Iran despite earlier assessments that the Kremlin was planning to do so as it becomes isolated by international sanctions.
“We’ve seen no indications of any sort of actual delivery and/or purchase of Iranian drones by the Russian Ministry of Defense,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told Al Arabiya English during a call with reporters.
Earlier this month, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan revealed that the US had intelligence suggesting that Iran was preparing to provide Russia with “several hundred” drones to use in its war on Ukraine, with training sessions set to begin as early as this month.
But on Tuesday, Kirby said the White House had not seen anything “that has been actually affected.”
Russia was reportedly looking to China for weapons shortly after most of the international community showed unity against its invasion. US officials warned Beijing against such moves, which appear not to have materialized.
He pointed out that Vladimir Putin looking to Tehran for drones proved that the Kremlin was being “pinched” by sanctions and export controls.
“We know that the sanctions are having an effect on his defense industrial base. This seems to be yet another indication of the kind of effect that they’re having,” Kirby said.
The US and Europe have imposed severe sanctions on Russia in the aftermath of its invasion of Ukraine in February. After failing to overthrow the government in Ukraine and capture Kyiv, Putin’s forces turned their attention to the eastern Donbas region and southern port cities.
With the war entering its sixth month, Putin shows no signs of letting up. Ukrainian forces have also put up a brave fight with the help of Western weapons.
“He obviously has no intention of trying to slow down, even though on the ground, his troops have been slowed down in the Donbas and quite frankly, in the south,” Kirby said of Putin. “But [looking to Iran for drones] shows every indication that he wants to continue to prosecute this war, continue to find new ways to kill Ukrainians.”
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