John Kirby, National Security Council Spokesperson has said that Iranian military personnel are on the ground in Crimea training Russian troops on how to fly the drones, to target Ukrainian positions and critical infrastructure.
The Iranians aren't flying the drones themselves but they are proving technical support to Russia soldiers, which is proving to be critical as Russian soldiers aren't familiar with the technology. Kirby said that the number of Iranians in Crimea is small.
“The fact is this: Tehran is now directly engaged on the ground and through the provision of weapons that … are killing civilians and destroying civilian infrastructure in Ukraine,” said Kirby.
Kirby has also suggested that Moscow might import more armed drones from Russia as they can be used a single use loitering munition and are much more economical than Russian missiles.
Kirby also addressed Russian men directly and told them that they need not fight in Ukraine as it is "Putin's war". “They should not fight, not agree to fight in Ukraine. And many of them have obviously left the country and some of the others are bravely resisting efforts to be mobilised and to be called up inside their own country,” said Kirby during an interview to CNN.
Kirby said that Putin resorting to imposition of martial law in the four annexed territories reveals that Putin “has dwindling options available to him” and that there is “increasing popular discontent” about the war and the way he’s fighting it.
Russians are being reportedly asked to fight after just one week of training and are being granted only a small amount of arms and ammunitions.
“They are being thrown into a fight against an enemy, though smaller, is much better equipped, much higher morale, better leadership, better command and control. And it’s not a place where a lot of Russian soldiers want to be right now,” said the spokesperson of the national security council.
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