Iran plans to supply Russia with hundreds of drones with combat weapons capabilities for use in Ukraine, a senior US official said on Monday.
Jake Sullivan, the White House national security adviser, said the information received by the United States supports the view that the Russian military faces challenges in maintaining its weaponry after major losses in Ukraine. .
“The Iranian government is preparing to supply Russia with up to several hundred drones [unmanned aerial vehicles]including weapons-capable UAVs, on an expedited timeline,” Sullivan told reporters.
“Our information further indicates that Iran is preparing to train Russian forces in the use of these drones, with the first training sessions expected to begin as early as early July,” he said.
Sullivan said it was unclear if Iran had yet delivered any of the drones to Russia.
He noted that Iranian drones have been used by Houthi rebels in Yemen to attack Saudi Arabia.
Drones have played a crucial role on both sides of the war in Ukraine, whether firing missiles from a distance, dropping small bombs on targets or carrying out reconnaissance for artillery forces and ground troops.
Ukrainian forces have had particular success using Turkish-made Bayraktar armed combat drones, and the United States and other allies have supplied Kyiv with many types of smaller drones.
“From our perspective, we will continue to do our part to help maintain Ukraine’s effective defense and to help the Ukrainians show that the Russian effort to try to wipe Ukraine off the map cannot succeed. “Sullivan said.