The UK says Russia is determined to supply Iran with military technology that will destabilize the Middle East | Daily News Byte


Britain warned on Tuesday that Russia was ready to provide Iran with advanced military technology that would threaten security in the Middle East and around the world.

UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace told parliament that Moscow would supply Tehran with military components in exchange for Iranian attack drones that Russia is using in its invasion of Ukraine.

In a statement to MPs, Wallace said Iran should be held responsible for supporting Russia’s aggression against its neighbour.

“We must account for their supporters,” he said. “Iran has become one of Russia’s top military backers. In exchange for supplying more than 300 kamikaze drones, Russia wants to provide it with advanced military components, undermining both Middle East and international security. We must expose this deal.”

Wallace did not specify what technology was being transferred to Iran.

Reuters news agency said it sought a response from the Russian Defense Ministry and Iran’s Foreign Ministry but neither had any comment.

In recent weeks Russia is believed to have used Iranian drones to attack Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, leaving tens of thousands without electricity as winter sets in.

Britain’s Secretary of State for Defense Ben Wallace arrives at Downing Street to attend a cabinet meeting in London on December 13, 2022. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP)

“We cannot stand by while Russia sends these waves of drones to increase attacks on innocent civilians,” Wallace said, adding that British “expertise and advice” is helping Ukraine coordinate its air defenses to deter drone attacks.

“Our advice helps Ukraine target incoming Russian-Iranian kamikaze drones,” he said, but noted, “we always make sure our support is calibrated to avoid escalation.”

Earlier this month, the US said Russia was moving to provide advanced military aid to Iran, including air defense systems, helicopters and fighter jets.

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby cited U.S. intelligence assessments for the allegations that Russia is offering Iran “an unprecedented level of military and technical assistance that is transforming their relationship into a full-fledged defense partnership.”

Kirby also reiterated the administration’s belief that Iran is considering the sale of hundreds of ballistic missiles to Russia but acknowledged that the U.S. has “no full visibility into Iran’s thinking as to why” the deal was not completed.

Russia’s offensive has been met with stiff resistance from Ukraine which has halted the advance of the invading army and pushed it back into some key southeastern regions. Western countries are pumping weapons and resources into Ukraine to help it fight Russian forces.

A drone is seen in the sky seconds before it opened fire on buildings in Kiev, Ukraine, on October 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

Speaking in the House of Commons, Wallace gave a bleak assessment of how the war was going for Russia.

About 100,000 Russian soldiers were “dead, wounded or deserted” in the invasion, he said.

Wallace did not provide a figure for Ukrainian casualties, but the US military recently put the estimated number of Ukrainian soldiers dead and wounded at around 100,000.

Losses in Russia’s military command have also increased drastically, such as equipment destroyed.

As of February 24th, there is no operational commander in charge anymore, Wallace told lawmakers. “Russia has lost a significant number of generals and commanding officers.”

“Russian capabilities have been severely hampered by the destruction of more than 4,500 armored and protected vehicles, as well as more than 140 helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft,” Wallace said.

The Biden administration recently unveiled sanctions against Iranian companies and entities involved in transferring Iranian drones to Russia for use in Ukraine. It all comes as the administration has condemned the Islamic Republic’s violent protests that erupted across Iran in September after the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while she was being held by morality police.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in Washington on Wednesday and met with US President Joe Biden to support the Ukrainian war effort.

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