The US accuses Iran of selling drones to Russia in violation of the UN ban


At a controversial UN Security Council meeting behind closed doors late Wednesday, the US, Britain and France accused Iran of selling drones to Russia, in violation of a UN Security Council ban on drone transfers. Russia has used drones in a series of devastating attacks on Ukrainian cities in the past week.

Both Russia and Iran have told reporters that unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones are not sold to Russia by Iran and are not used in conflicts.

Nate Evans, spokesman and communications director for the US Mission to the United Nations, demanded “Expert briefing” in the Security Council “on recent evidence that Russia has illegally procured Iranian UAVs for use in its war against Ukraine”.

Sergiy Kyslytsya, Ukraine’s ambassador to the UN, on Tuesday wrote a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urging UN experts to visit Ukraine to inspect the recovered UAVs used to attack Ukrainian cities. The attacks have resulted in around 30% of Ukraine’s power supply being cut off.

In his letter, Kyslytsya noted that the drones used in the attacks meet the requirements of UN Security Council Resolution 2231, passed in 2015, which bans the transfer of drones capable of flying more than 300 kilometers.

Kiev drone attack on Ukraine
People clear explosion debris in front of a house where a couple was killed in a Russian drone strike two days earlier in Kyiv, Ukraine, October 19, 2022. Recent Russian attacks around Kyiv and across Ukraine have targeted power plants and killed civilians.

Ed Ram/Getty Images

“The United States began warning in July that Iran plans to transfer UAVs to Russia for use in Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine, and we now have ample evidence that these UAVs are being used, to attack Ukrainian civilians and critical civilian infrastructure,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement after the meeting.

Russia’s deputy ambassador to the UN Dmitry Polyanskiy said the 15-nation Security Council had no authority to send inspectors, an issue to be discussed at an open Security Council session on Ukraine on Friday.

Amir Saeid Iravani, Iran’s ambassador to the UN, denied that Iran had transferred drones to Russia for use in the war.

James Kariuki, UK Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations, tweeted on Wednesday that “Iran has an obligation not to export these weapons.”

On Wednesday, Russian-launched kamikaze drones hit power plants, forcing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to call an emergency meeting to avoid a “collapse.” [Ukraine’s] energy system.”

Starting about a week ago, Russia launched a series of attacks with Iranian-made kamikaze drones filled with explosives.

Since last month the first kamikaze drone was launched in Ukraine claims it was shot down 223 of them. US officials estimate that Ukraine has a success rate of about 50%, which would mean Russia has launched nearly 450 drones.

David Martin contributed to this report.

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