A building in Kyiv heavily damaged after attack by an Iranian drone. May 30, 2023

Russia Says Military Ties With Iran Will Withstand US Pressure

Saturday, 08/26/2023

Russia's military cooperation with Iran will not succumb to geopolitical pressure, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said, referring to pressure from the United States.

Washington has been publicly demanding that Iran should stop providing military drones to Russia and scale down its bilateral military cooperation.

"There are no changes, and cooperation with Iran will continue," Ryabkov said, according to a report on Saturday from Russian state news agency RIA. "We are independent states and do not succumb to the dictates of the United States and its satellites."

The US is pressing Iran to stop selling the armed drones, which Russia is using in the war in Ukraine, the Financial Times reported earlier this month, citing an Iranian official and another person familiar with the talks.

Russia began using the Iranian-made Shahed drones to attack deep inside Ukraine last year. The so-called kamikaze unmanned drones do not need a runway to launch and explode on impact. Ukraine has learned to shoot down most of the unmanned aerial vehicles but Russia has been using them in conjunction with ballistic and cruise missiles to overwhelm Ukraine’s air defenses.

Iran has acknowledged sending drones to Russia but said in the past they were sent before Russia's February 2022 invasion in Ukraine. Moscow has denied its forces used Iranian drones in Ukraine.

However, Russia has used hundreds of the Iranian drones and Ukraine has reported regular deliveries reaching Russia.

A White House official said in June that Iran had transferred several hundred drones to Russia since August 2022.

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