At least 10 Iranians reportedly killed by Ukraine as arms ties between Moscow and Iran appear to deepen

Ukrainian strikes last week against the ongoing Russian invasion killed at least 10 Iranians, a Ukrainian official told Hebrew media on Friday.

The official told the Kan public broadcaster that the deaths occurred in two separate strikes in areas where Iranians were.

There were no further details about the circumstances of the strikes.

On Tuesday, The New York Times reported that Iran sent Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps military trainers to Russian-occupied Crimea to help Moscow troops use Iranian drones against Ukraine.

Ukraine and its Western allies have accused Russia of deploying Iranian-made drones in attacks on Ukraine in recent weeks, as Moscow and Tehran appear to be drawing closer.

Russia has denied using Iranian drones in Ukraine and Iran has denied sending weapons to Russia.

Russia has bombarded Ukraine with drones and other weapons in attacks on Ukrainian energy and infrastructure sites. Ukraine believes Russia used dozens of Iranian suicide drones in attacks against civilian targets, including in Kyiv.

Firefighters work after a drone attack on buildings in Kyiv, Ukraine, October 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Roman Hrytsyna, File)

The drones are the Shahed-136 aircraft model used for air-to-ground attacks. So-called kamikaze drones carry a small warhead and crash into their targets, exploding on impact. They have a range of around 1,000 kilometers (621 miles).

Iranian trainers from the IRGC, a branch of the military that the United States considers a foreign terrorist organization, are assisting Russia in the drive out of a military base in Crimea, according to the report, citing current US officials and elders who had been informed of classified acts. intelligence.

Many Iranian drones have been based in Crimea since being delivered to Russia, according to the report.

Russia initially sent its own personnel to Iran to learn how to use the drones, but the weapons were plagued with problems after arriving in Russian territory. Iran then sent its trainers to Crimea to remedy the malfunctions, according to the report.

It is unclear whether the Iranians are operating the drones themselves, according to Tuesday’s report.

The drones hit electrical infrastructure and killed many Ukrainian civilians.

This undated photograph released by the Ukrainian Army’s Strategic Communications Directorate shows the wreckage of what Kyiv described as an Iranian Shahed drone shot down near Kupiansk, Ukraine. (Ukrainian Army Strategic Communications Directorate via AP, File)

In addition to drones, Reuters reported Tuesday that Tehran agreed to sell Fateh 110 and Zolfaghar short-range surface-to-surface ballistic missiles to Moscow.

The introduction of aid to Russia by regional rival Israel has amplified Ukraine’s calls for the Jewish state’s defense assistance. However, Defense Minister Benny Gantz has repeatedly said in recent days that Israel will not send weapons systems to Ukraine.

Nonetheless, Prime Minister Yair Lapid expressed “deep concern over Iran’s military ties with Russia” in a phone call with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Thursday. Separately, in a TV interview, Lapid warned that the Russian-Iranian weapons ties put “the whole world at risk on Thursday.”

Israel sought to preserve its increasingly strained ties with Russia during the war. Russia controls the airspace over Syria, where Israel operates against Iran-linked targets, including the Hezbollah terror group. Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu also said on Tuesday that Israel fears its weapons could end up in Iranian hands if sent abroad.

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