According to the US government, Russia is using combat drones from Iran in the Ukraine war – with the support of Iranian forces on site.

“We can confirm today that Russian military personnel stationed in Crimea piloted Iranian drones and used them in attacks across Ukraine, including attacks on Kyiv in recent days,” said the National Security Council’s communications director , John Kirby, on Thursday. “We assume that Iranian military personnel were stationed in Crimea and assisted Russia in these operations.”

According to the findings, Iran sent “a comparatively small number” of its own forces to Crimea to train the Russians in handling the drones and to offer them technical assistance. Kirby emphasized that the drones would be controlled by Russian forces. These are systems with which the Russians are not familiar. Therefore, they would need some training to operate them. Iran is now “directly” involved on the ground in the Ukraine war and is providing weapons that are hitting civilians and civilian infrastructure in Ukraine.

Kirby said Russia has received dozens of these combat drones so far and is likely to receive more shipments in the future. Given Russia’s “persistent supply shortages,” the US government also feared that Russia could seek to acquire other weapons, such as surface-to-surface missiles from Iran, “which would almost certainly be used in support of the war against Ukraine.”

Ukraine repeatedly attacked with combat drones

Russia had repeatedly attacked Ukraine in the past few days with Iran’s single-use Shahed 136 combat drones. According to Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, there have been more than 100 attacks with so-called kamikaze drones since last week. Iran denies supplying the drones to Russia.

Kirby said Russia and Iran can lie to the world but cannot hide the facts. Together with international allies, the US government will hold Russia and Iran accountable for their actions and will consider further sanctions.