Saturday, December 9, 2023

Russia deploys dozens of drones in Ukraine war in two days: Zelensky

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He went on to say that Russia had carried out 4,500 missile strikes and over 8,000 air raids in total.

Zelensky, speaking from Kyiv and standing next to what appeared to be a downed Iranian Shahed drone, pledged to “clip the wings” of Moscow’s air power.

Western officials believe Iran has supplied Russia with a large number of drones, but Moscow and Tehran deny this.

It comes after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken described Russia’s aggressive use of drones as “appalling.”

During a visit to Ottawa, the top US diplomat accused Russian commanders of using the devices to “kill Ukrainian civilians and destroy the infrastructure they rely on for electricity, water, and heat.”

“Canada and the United States will continue to collaborate with our allies and partners to expose, deter, and counter Iran’s provision of these weapons,” said Blinken.

In recent weeks, Russian attacks on civilian infrastructure in Ukraine have harmed the country’s electricity and water supplies, just as temperatures begin to fall.

Western countries claim that Iran is supplying Moscow with domestically developed drones and that Iranian military experts are on the ground in Russian-occupied Crimea to provide technical assistance to pilots.

Ukraine has identified the drones used in some of its infrastructure attacks as Iranian Shahed-136 drones. They are known as “kamikaze” drones because they are destroyed during the attack, and they are named after Japanese fighter pilots who flew suicide missions during WWII.

According to Ukraine, Russia has already used 400 drones out of a total order of approximately 2,000 weapons.

However, Tehran has repeatedly denied any arms deal with Moscow, and Moscow also denies using Iranian drones.

Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Iran’s Foreign Minister, called the accusations “baseless” on Wednesday and urged Ukraine to “present any evidence supporting the accusations.”

“If it becomes clear to us that Russia used Iranian drones in the war against Ukraine,” he added, “we will not be indifferent about this issue.”

Israel, Tehran’s regional adversary, has also condemned the alleged exports. President Isaac Herzog slammed the regime’s activities during a meeting with US President Joe Biden at the White House on Thursday.

“The fact that Iran is killing its own citizens, working endlessly toward nuclear weapons, endangering the entire world and region — and now killing innocent civilians in Ukraine, clearly gives you a picture of what Iran is all about,” Herzog said.

Prior to the visit, he promised to provide Biden with “proof” that Iran was supplying the weapons.

Meanwhile, according to the Associated Press, US officials have stated that they will provide Ukraine with an additional $275 million (£237 million) in military aid.

The assistance is expected to be used to replenish ammunition for Ukrainian artillery systems, including the HIMARS launchers used to great effect by Kyiv’s forces.

On the ground, fighting has slowed in recent days, with a long-awaited Ukrainian advance on the southern city of Kherson halted by bad weather.

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