In September, Russia began using Iranian ‘suicide drones’ in attacking Ukraine, after it reportedly received delivery of hundreds of units from Tehran.

Nine suicide drones were reportedly shot down by Ukrainian forces on Wednesday, with some 50 shot down throughout the week. Three drones operated by Russian forces attacked the small town of Makariv, west of Ukraine’s capital, early on Thursday with officials saying that critical infrastructure facilities were struck by what they said were Iran-made suicide drones.

France’s foreign ministry said on Thursday that any transfer of Iranian drones to Russia, something the US warned Iran against doing, would be a violation of the United Nations Security Council resolution that endorsed the 2015 nuclear accord between Iran and world powers.

“We note a great deal of information that reports the use of Iranian drones by the Russian armed forces in Ukraine, in bombardments that were aimed at civilian targets and which likely constitute war crimes,” foreign ministry spokesperson Anne-Claire Legendre said in a daily online briefing.

“Such a supply of Iranian drones to Russia would also violate United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231.”

Under the 2015 nuclear deal, an arms embargo on Iran was in place until October 2020. Despite U.S. efforts under former president Donald Trump, who took the United States out of the deal in 2018, to extend the arms embargo, the Security Council rejected this, paving the way for Iran to resume arms’ exports.

However, the resolution still includes restrictions on missiles and related technologies that last until October 2023 and that encompass the export and purchase of advanced military systems.

According to Reuters, a diplomatic source said that the drones in question fell under the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), an informal political understanding among states that seeks to limit the proliferation of missiles and missile technology and whose sale would violate the resolution.

Israel might be providing “basic intelligence”

According to a report in The New York Times, a senior Ukrainian official has said that Israel is providing Ukraine with “basic intelligence” on the Iranian-made Shahed-136 drone being deployed by the Russian army.

Wednesday’s report, which cited an anonymous Ukrainian source, also said that a private Israeli security firm was giving the Ukrainians satellite imagery of Russian military positions.

In September, Oleg Nikolenko, the spokesman for Ukraine’s foreign ministry wrote that “in response to Iran supplying weapons to Russia to use in its war against Ukraine, today we announced the revocation of accreditation of the Iranian Ambassador in Kyiv, and a significant drawdown of diplomatic personnel at the Iranian embassy.” 

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