KYIV: Iran admitted for the first time on Saturday that it had sent drones to Russia but insisted they were supplied to its ally before Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Kyiv and its Western allies have accused Russia of using Iranian-made drones in recent weeks to carry out attacks in Ukraine.

Tehran has repeatedly denied the claims but on Saturday Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian was quoted as saying that drones had been sent to Russia before the invasion began. “We supplied Russia with a limited number of drones months before the war in Ukraine,” the official news agency IRNA quoted Amir-Abdollahian as saying.

For weeks, Russian forces have rained missiles and explosive drones onto Ukra­ine infrastructure, as a major Ukrainian ground offensive — propelled by Western arms deliveries — has pushed Russian troops back in swathes of the country.

Russian strikes over the past month have destroyed around a third of Ukraine’s power stations. Ukraine’s state energy company on Saturday announced additional power rationing in Kyiv and several other regions of the country.

“In a telephone conversation with the Ukrainian foreign minister last week, we agreed that if there was evidence (of Moscow’s use of Iranian drones), he would provide it to us,” Amir-Abdollahian said.

“If the Ukrainian side keeps its promise, we can discuss this issue in the coming days and we will take into account their evidence,” he added. And he again denied Iran had supplied missiles to Russia, calling the accusations “completely false”.

In response Ukraine’s foreign ministry spokesman warned Iran on Saturday in a post on Facebook that “the consequences of complicity” with Moscow would be “greater than the benefit from Russia’s support.”

Meanwhile, Kyiv claims around 400 Iranian drones have already been used against Ukraine.

Published in Dawn, November 6th, 2022

Opinion

Editorial

IMF package
Updated 28 Jan, 2023

IMF package

While it is crucial to seek immediate IMF funding to shore up its reserves, the govt shouldn’t focus only on short-term relief.
Dar unpegged
28 Jan, 2023

Dar unpegged

IT is over. Nearly four months after Ishaq Dar descended on the cash-strapped economy with some decidedly outlandish...
Lurking hazards
28 Jan, 2023

Lurking hazards

OVERSIGHT of illegal industrial activity occurring within residential areas in the country is weak, especially in...
Election time
Updated 27 Jan, 2023

Election time

There are concerns whether the ECP will be sufficiently able to protect the integrity of elections if they are held under partisan governments.
SCO invite
27 Jan, 2023

SCO invite

THOUGH India’s invitation to Pakistan to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation events in Goa later this ...
Call to arms
27 Jan, 2023

Call to arms

ONE way the state abdicates responsibility in Pakistan is by farming out its functions to the private sector. In ...