White House: Iranian Forces in Crimea Train Russian Drone Operations Against Ukraine

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The White House says that there are Iranian soldiers in Crimea teaching Russian troops how to control the drones that have been destroying civilian infrastructure in Ukraine.

John Kirby, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said, “They can lie to the world, but they can’t hide the facts, and the facts are that Tehran is now directly involved on the ground.”

US and Ukrainian sources say that Russia started buying “kamikaze drones,” or Shahid-136, from Iran this summer and has used them to attack Kyiv and other parts of Ukraine.

Kirby said that Iran sent a “very small number” of “trainers and technical help” to Crimea after Russian soldiers had trouble flying the drones well.

Kirby said on Thursday, “The systems themselves were broken and not working to the level that the customers probably expected.”

Russia took over the southern peninsula of Ukraine called Crimea in 2014. Since the February attack, Russia has used the area as a military base.

White House Iranian Forces in Crimea Train Russian Drone Operations Against Ukraine

This week, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that drones and missiles have destroyed almost a third of the country’s power plants since October 10. This is putting pressure on Ukraine’s defenses before the winter months, he said.

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The US is putting more sanctions on Iran after the death of a 22-year-old woman in the regime’s morality police and a violent crackdown on protesters. The news that Iran helped Crimea comes at the same time.

The Biden administration has also spent months trying to bring back the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, but Kirby seemed to rule out any chance of this happening on Thursday.

“Right now, diplomacy is not a priority,” Kirby told reporters. “We want the dictatorship to be held accountable for how they treat peaceful protesters in their country, and we want to help those people.”

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