“Information indicates that the Iranian government is preparing to supply Russia with up to several hundred (unmanned aircraft), including UAVs with weapons capability under Quick turnaround.”
He continued, “Our information also indicates that Iran is preparing to train Russian forces in the use of these drones, and an initial training session is scheduled to take place as soon as early July. It is unclear whether Iran has delivered any of these drones to Russia.” Already”.
A spokesman for the White House National Security Council told CNN that the information Sullivan described to reporters is based on recently declassified intelligence.
Sullivan argued that the news of Iran’s supply of drones was evidence that Russia’s attacks against Ukraine in recent weeks came at the “heavy” cost of depleting its weapons.
News of Iran supplying drones to Russia came a day before President Joe Biden’s first trip to the Middle East since taking office, with stops in Israel and Saudi Arabia. Iran’s actions in the region and its nuclear program are expected to be a major topic of discussion.
On Monday, Sullivan spoke about how Iran provided similar drones to Houthi rebels in Yemen to attack Saudi Arabia ahead of a ceasefire earlier this year.
Drones have been a major component of the war in Ukraine on both sides, with the Ukrainian military using Turkish Bayraktar drones to destroy Russian command posts, tanks and surface-to-air missile systems, and the Russians using home-made Orlan-10 drones for reconnaissance and electronic warfare. But in the nearly five months of the war, the number of drones on each side has dwindled as they have been shot down or crashed.
Ukraine’s allies, including Lithuania and Poland, have started crowdfunding campaigns to purchase new Bayraktar drones for the Ukrainian army, and the United States has supplied Ukraine with kamikaze drones called Switchblades. The United States is also considering whether to provide Ukraine with larger drones that can be armed with Hellfire missiles.
But the United States now believes that Russia has apparently turned to Iran to help replenish its stockpiles of drones. However, it is unclear how advanced or effective those drones are.
US officials revealed in March that Russia had previously turned to China to help support its war in Ukraine. As of late May, the United States saw no evidence that China provided any military or economic support to Russia for the invasion, Sullivan told reporters at the time.
This story has been updated with additional reports.
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