October 5, 2022

Ukraine cuts ties with Iran over supplying Russia with "evil" drones

Ukraine cuts ties with Iran over supplying Russia with “evil” drones

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(Reuters) – Ukraine said on Friday it would downgrade diplomatic ties with Iran over Tehran’s decision to supply drones to Russian forces, a move President Volodymyr Zelensky called “collaboration with evil”.

Zelensky said eight Iranian-made drones have so far been shot down in the conflict.

Ukraine and the United States have accused Iran of supplying Russia with drones, which Tehran denies.

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“Today the Russian army used Iranian drones in its strikes … the world will know every case of cooperation with evil and it will have similar consequences,” Zelensky said in a late-night video address.

The military authorities of southern Ukraine said in a statement that they shot down four Shahed-136 “Kamikaze” drones over the sea near the port of Odessa on Friday.

The Air Force said separately that it had for the first time shot down the Mohajer-6, a larger Iranian drone, Okranska Pravda newspaper reported.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said earlier that the supply of drones dealt a serious blow to bilateral relations.

“In response to such an unfriendly act, the Ukrainian side decided to deprive the ambassador of Iran of his accreditation and also significantly reduce the number of diplomatic staff of the Iranian embassy in Kyiv,” it said in a statement on its website.

The letter was delivered to the ChargĂ© d’Affairs as Permanent Representative Manouchehr Moradi is not currently in Ukraine.

Military experts say the drones will be useful to Russia both for reconnaissance and as idling munitions that can spend their time identifying and engaging appropriate targets.

In August, a senior US administration official said Russia had faced “numerous failures” with Iranian-made aircraft acquired from Tehran.

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(Reporting by David Younggren) Editing by Mark Potter, Alistair Bell and Bill Bercrot

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