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Ukraine downgrades relations with Iran over supply of UAVs to Russia

A handout picture provided by the Iranian Army's official website, shows an Iranian Simorgh drone during the second day of a military exercise in the Gulf, near the strategic strait of Hormuz in southern Iran, on September 11, 2020 [Photo by -/Iranian Army office/AFP via Getty Images]
An Iranian Simorgh drone near the strategic strait of Hormuz in southern Iran, on September 11, 2020 [Iranian Army office/AFP via Getty Images]

Ukraine has downgraded its diplomatic relations with Iran and withdrew the accreditation of the Iranian ambassador over Tehran's supply of drones to Russia.

Ukrainian military forces yesterday shot down four Iranian-made 'kamikaze' Shahed-136 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) over the sea near the port of Odesa, confirming earlier reports months ago that Tehran has been supplying Moscow with drones to assist it in its invasion.

Following the revelation, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy condemned Iran's supply of the UAVs to Russia, and a statement by Ukraine's Foreign Ministry yesterday said that "Supplying Russia with weapons to wage war against Ukraine is an unfriendly act that deals a serious blow to relations between Ukraine and Iran."

The ministry announced that Kyiv's response to such an "unfriendly act" is 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."

As the Iranian ambassador, Manouchehr Mouradi, is not currently in the country, that message was provided to the acting ambassador.

Now that Tehran's supply of its drones to Moscow is confirmed, it is the first known instance of a foreign country and ally providing Russia with assistance for its invasion of Ukraine. The Kremlin previously requested China for assistance, but the outcome of that request is unknown.

Numerous countries have provided Ukraine with military assistance and weapons, on the other hand, including drones from the US, Turkiye, and the UK.

While much of the international community continues to isolate Russia over its ongoing invasion, its acquisition of Iranian UAVs signals the growing ties between the two countries, after Tehraniran previously stuck to support solely in the economic and trade sectors.

Following the downing of the Iranian drones, the Ukrainian president's advisor Mykhailo Podolyak also stated that "After years of sanctions, isolation, an abominable reputation – Iran's elite still has not realized how to rise from the bottom of civilization."

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