Iranian drones already experiencing failures in Ukraine: US State Department
“The Russian military is suffering from major supply shortages in Ukraine... forcing Russia to rely on unreliable countries like Iran for supplies and equipment,” a State Department official said.
Iranian drones provided to Russia earlier this month have already experienced failures, the US State Department said on Tuesday.
Washington previously disclosed that Iran was preparing to supply Russia with drones as Moscow struggled to achieve its military goals in Ukraine.
Russian transport aircraft loaded UAV equipment at an airfield in Iraq before flying to Russia, State Department Principal Deputy Spokesman Vedant Patel said.
“In fact, our information indicates that UAVs associated with this transfer have already experienced numerous failures,” Patel told reporters during a call.
Russia is likely to import hundreds of various Iranian UAVs, Patel said. He added: “The Russian military is suffering from major supply shortages in Ukraine, in part because of sanctions and export controls, forcing Russia to rely on unreliable countries like Iran for supplies and equipment.”
The US warned China against providing Russia with military support shortly after it further invaded Ukraine in February. So far, US officials have not reported seeing any Chinese military support.
But it has turned to Tehran in recent weeks, and Russians continue to receive training in Iran on how to use different UAV systems, Patel said on Tuesday.
According to the State Department official, the Iranian drones are expected to be used for air-disturbance attacks, electronic warfare and other targeting on the battlefield in Ukraine.
“Russia’s deepening alliance with Iran is something that the whole world, and especially those in the region, should look at and see as a profound threat,” Patel said. “We’ll continue to vigorously enforce all US sanctions on both the Russian and Iranian arms trade, and we will stand with our partners throughout the region against the Iranian threat.”
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