Ukraine to slash ties with Iran over drones supply to Russia

Kyiv says it has downed several Iran-made drones in past week

Wreckage of what Ukraine has described as an Iranian Shahed drone downed near Kupiansk, Ukraine. AP.
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Ukraine said on Friday it would downgrade diplomatic ties with Iran and strip the ambassador of his accreditation over what it called Tehran's “unfriendly” decision to supply Russian forces with drones.

Earlier in the day, Ukraine said it had downed four Iranian-made “kamikaze” unmanned aerial vehicles, prompting President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to state that Tehran was harming Ukrainian sovereignty and its citizens.

Ukraine and the US have accused Iran of supplying drones to Russia — something Tehran has denied.

“Supplying Russia with weapons to wage war against Ukraine is an unfriendly act that deals a serious blow to relations between Ukraine and Iran,” said a statement on the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

“In response to such an unfriendly act, the Ukrainian side has decided to deprive the ambassador of Iran of his accreditation and also to significantly reduce the number of diplomatic staff of the Iranian embassy in Kyiv.”

The message was handed to the acting ambassador, since the permanent envoy, Manouchehr Moradi, is not currently in Ukraine.

Military authorities in southern Ukraine said in a statement that they had shot down the Shahed-136 drones over the sea near the port of Odesa.

Experts say the drones would be useful to Russia for both reconnaissance and as loitering munitions that can bide their time in locating and engaging suitable targets.

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Updated: September 23, 2022, 9:02 PM