Top Zelensky aide calls for strikes on Iran
Iranian drone and ballistic missile plants should be destroyed, a senior aide to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has stated. This comes after Tehran acknowledged it had handed over military drones to Russia, though it’s insisted that this was before the Ukraine conflict broke out in late February.
“I believe it’s necessary to not only impose sanctions and embargoes, I believe that it could be possible to launch strikes on drones and ballistic missiles manufacturing facilities [in Iran]. Such a state cannot continue doing this with impunity,” Mikhail Podolyak stated on Friday, speaking live on local TV. The official did not elaborate on who, exactly, should launch such strikes against the Islamic Republic.
Allegations around purported arms deliveries from Iran to Russia surfaced in recent weeks, after Moscow began using new kamikaze drones en masse in Ukraine. Kiev insists that the drones, known as Geran-2 (Geranium-2), are actually Iranian-made Shahed-136 UAVs. The alleged drone deliveries have left a major dent in ties between Iran and Ukraine, with Kiev downgrading its diplomatic relations with Tehran.
Both Moscow and Tehran have repeatedly denied arms deliveries have taken place amid the conflict. On Saturday, however, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian admitted that his country had indeed “provided Russia with a small number of drones months before the Ukraine war.” He also denied claims that Iran had supplied Moscow with missiles.
Podolyak commented on this admission, expressing doubts that such an explanation was actually true. “That is, instead of destroying our critical infrastructure, [the drones] have been laying in warehouses for eight months?” he said.
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 Pyotr 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.