White House: Iran preparing to send Russia drones for Ukraine war
The United States believes that the Iranian government is preparing to provide Russia with hundreds of drones in order to help Moscow with its ongoing assault on Ukraine, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters on Monday.
“Our information indicates that the Iranian government is preparing to provide Russia up to several hundred UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles], including weapons-capable UAVs, on an expedited timeline,” Sullivan said at a press briefing.
Sullivan said that the Iranians are preparing to train Russian forces to use the unmanned aerial vehicles as early as this month. It’s unclear if any have been delivered to the Russians at this point in time.
The national security adviser disclosed the information to exhibit the difficulty Russia is experiencing in sustaining its own weapons stockpile as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine comes close to entering its sixth month.
Sullivan made the comments when briefing reporters on President Biden’s upcoming trip to the Middle East. Biden is expected to depart for the trip later this week, traveling to Israel and then Saudi Arabia.
Iran and its nuclear program are expected to be topics of discussion during Biden’s travel. The Biden administration has sought to return to the Iran nuclear deal that former President Trump withdrew from during his tenure but has thus far been unable to strike a deal.
During his remarks to reporters, Sullivan noted that Iran supplied similar weapons to the Houthis in Yemen to help launch attacks against Saudi Arabia before a cease-fire was brokered.
Sullivan expressed confidence that the Ukrainians, with assistance from the U.S. and other countries, would be able “effectively defend and sustain” the capital of Kyiv, which Russia tried and failed to overtake at the beginning of the war.
He also argued that Russia has “already substantially failed to achieve its objectives in Ukraine,” pointing in part to the failure to take Kyiv.
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