White House officials reported Thursday that Iranian forces are directly involved in Crimea, assisting the Russian military has attacked Ukraine’s power stations and other key infrastructure with drones. In its report, Tehran is claimed to have troubling evidence of Tehran’s growing cooperation with Russia during a period of harsh winter weather as it oppresses Ukrainian civilians. Communications coordinator for the National Security Council, John Kirby, said Iranian personnel is evidence of Iranian involvement in the conflict.
White House has confirmed that Iranian military personnel has visited Crimea to support Russian operations targeting civilian infrastructure in the country using drones. Kirby, the NSC’s communications coordinator, said Iranian personnel as proof of Tehran’s direct involvement. pic.twitter.com/coHdL2mDc5
— Live News Now (@LiveNewsNow6) October 21, 2022
“We can confirm that Russian military personnel stationed in Crimea have been piloting Iranian unmanned aerial vehicles, which have been used to carry out strikes across Ukraine, including in Kyiv, Kirby said. An earlier report by CNN stated that Russian forces were being trained by Iranian military personnel in Crimea. However, Kirby said a relatively small number of Iranian troops were on the ground. “The Iranian government is now directly involved in the armed conflict in Ukraine and supplies weapons that are impacting civilians, killing civilians, and destroying civilian infrastructure,” he said.
In his statement, he expressed that the Russians were unfamiliar with drones and would need assistance from the Iranian personnel to use them. Russia now fears acquiring additional weapons from Iran, including surface-to-surface missiles. The Iranians and Russians keep lying about their partnership, he said. He also said that the world could lie about them, but the facts can’t be hidden.
The Ukrainian authorities have identified the drones used on Monday as Iranian Shahed-136 weapons. The drones are also known as “kamikaze” drones because they were destroyed during the attack – this is about the Japanese fighter pilots who were responsible for the suicide missions during World War 2. The Russian government has recently targeted critical infrastructure in Ukraine with drones and missiles, destroying almost a third of the nation’s power stations since Monday last week in a campaign of missiles and drone strikes.
The United Kingdom has sanctioned several Iranian generals and an arms firm in response to Russia’s use of Iranian drones against Ukraine. The Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom called those listed on the list “warmongers” and accused them of profiting from Moscow’s “abhorrent” attacks. Major General Mohammad Hossein Bagheri, Iran’s chief of staff, and Shahed Aviation Industries, a drone manufacturer, are the targeted individuals.
Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, has accused Moscow of planting explosives near a dam southwest of the country. As a result, eighty towns and cities may be flooded if the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant is critically damaged. Moreover, the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant could not receive water for cooling if the plant is critically damaged, Zelensky warned. Additionally, it is possible that entire southern Ukraine, including Crimea, will be left without access to water.
Moscow may be planning a strike on the dam, which it would blame on Ukraine, as it believes that flooding may provide Russian forces with cover as they retreat from parts of the Kherson region. The respected Institute for the Study of War think tank released this report on Wednesday. In Kherson, the dam is approximately 70 kilometers to the northeast.
Russia Violated the 2015 U.N. Security Council Resolution
Earlier this week, Ukraine alleged that Iran violated a Security Council ban prohibiting the transfer of drones with a range of 300 kilometers. The UK, France, and the U.S. strongly support Ukraine’s assertion that the drones were transferred to Russia in violation of a resolution adopted by the U.N. Security Council in 2015 approving the nuclear deal between Iran and six countries – the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France, and Germany – aimed at curbing Tehran’s atomic activities and preventing it from developing nuclear weapons.
Following Britain’s announcement of new sanctions on Iranian officials and businesses suspected of supplying the drones, the White House criticized Iranian assistance to Russia. British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly stated that these drone strikes were cowardly acts of desperation. The people of Ukraine have endured untold hardships because these individuals and a manufacturer enabled these strikes. It will be our responsibility to ensure that their actions are held accountable.
The British imposed travel bans and asset freezes on a number of individuals, including Major General Mohammad Hossein Bagheri, the Chairman of the General Staff of the Indian Armed Forces, who was responsible for overseeing the military branches that supplied drones to Russia; a key Iranian negotiator, Brig General Seyed Hojjatollah Qureishi; and a senior commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Aerospace Force UAV Command, Brig. General Saeed Aghajani. Russian drone manufacturer Shahed Aviation Industries was also frozen because of the asset freeze.