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Iran responds to US claims of drone shipments to Russia

Tehran will not help either side in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has said in response to White House claims the Islamic Republic was planning to deliver “hundreds of drones” to Russia.

“We have different kinds of cooperation with Russia, including in the defense sector. But we are not going to help either side in this conflict because we believe that it has to be stopped,” Amir-Abdollahian told Italian newspaper la Repubblica on Wednesday.

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“The current problem with the conflict is that some Western countries, including the United States, have arms manufacturers who are trying to sell their products,” he said, adding that Tehran “will avoid any action that could lead to escalation” but we will work to stop the conflict.

On Monday, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters that Iran was “preparing to provide Russia with up to several hundred UAVs,” including combat drones. Moscow has not commented on the matter.

Many Western countries, including the US, are supplying Kiev with heavy weaponry, such as missile launchers, armored vehicles and combat drones. Moscow insists that “flooding” Ukraine with weapons will only exacerbate the conflict.

Meanwhile Russian President Vladimir Putin will travel to Tehran on July 19 and meet with his counterparts Ebrahim Raisi of Iran and Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, according to the Kremlin.

Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”

In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked.

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