Iran is planning “proportional action” in response to Ukraine’s decision to downgrade diplomatic ties over the reported supply of Iranian drones to Russia, the Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson said on Saturday.
Nasser Kanaani said Ukraine should “refrain from being influenced by third parties who seek to destroy relations between the two countries”, a ministry statement said.
Ukraine would withdraw accreditation of the Iranian ambassador and significantly reduce the number of diplomatic staff at the Iranian embassy in Kyiv over Tehran’s decision to supply Russian forces with drones, a move President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called “a collaboration with evil”.that it
Kanaani said Ukraine’s decision was “based on unconfirmed reports and resulted from a media hype by foreign parties”.
He did not directly refer to drones. Iran has previously denied supplying drones to Russia, but the hardline daily Kayhan said on Saturday “hundreds of armed drones” have been sold.
“For a while now, Iranian drones have been carrying out operations in Ukraine’s skies against NATO,” said the newspaper, whose head is appointed by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Military authorities in southern Ukraine said on Saturday they had shot down at least seven Iranian drones, including six Shahed-136 “kamikaze” craft over the sea near the ports of Odesa and Pivdennyi on Friday.
These included – for the first time in Ukraine – a Mohajer-6, a larger Iranian drone, the southern military command said.
Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said in an English language tweet on Saturday that Iran was supporting Russia “by giving modern drones to (a) backward country for the murders of Ukrainians”.