Iran is fast-tracking the transfer of hundreds of drones, including weapons-capable unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), to Russia, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan confirmed on Monday.
Sullivan highlighted the enormous price Russia is paying in weapons and equipment to sustain marginal progress in eastern Ukraine, depleting its vast stores of artillery, in a press briefing. He also addressed U.S. assistance to Ukraine and President Joe Biden’s upcoming visit to the Middle East.
“This is just one example of how Russia is looking to countries like Iran for capabilities that are also being used, I might add, or have been used before we got the ceasefire in place in Yemen, to attack Saudi Arabia,” said Sullivan.
Russia’s decision to purchase drones from Iran signifies it is desperate to restock munitions and has few international partners to turn to, U.S. officials told Politico.
“Our information further indicates that Iran is preparing to train Russian forces to use these UAVs with initial training sessions slated to begin as soon as early July,” said Sullivan.
He added that the U.S. did not know whether Iran had already transferred the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to Russia at that time.
While training on foreign systems is always an issue with weapons transfers, Russian forces could adapt to the use of Iranian-made UAVs quickly, Michael Kofman, a research program director in the Russia Studies Program at the Center for Naval Analyses, told Politico.
“Russian forces have been losing reconnaissance drones in large numbers. Their own production capacity for armed drones is still nascent,” Kofman said. “They may be interested in Iranian loitering munitions or [combat drones]. This is one area where Iran may have more capacity.”
Russia and Iran have cooperated on matters in the past, including foiling U.S. attempts to renegotiate the Iranian nuclear deal over sanctions issues in March.
Iran and Russia have also signaled intentions to work together on energy and trade, according to Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi. “We pursue relations with Russia within the framework of strategic relations,” Raisi said in a statement.
The White House, State Department and Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org