Ukraine cuts Iranian embassy presence over Russian drone strikes | Russia-Ukraine war news

Military authorities in southern Ukraine said they shot down four Shahed-136 “kamikaze” unmanned aerial vehicles.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the accreditation of Iran’s ambassador would be revoked and Iran’s diplomatic staff in Kyiv would be reduced as Russian forces use Iranian drones to attack Ukraine.

Ukrainian forces have so far shot down a total of eight Iranian-made drones in the conflict, Zelenskyy said in a video address late Friday.

“Today, the Russian army used Iranian drones in attacks against Dnipropetrovsk Oblast and Odesa. I ordered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to respond forcefully to this fact,” Zelenskyy said in his address.

“Six of these Iranian drones were shot down by the air defense of our Eastern and Southern Command. Another one was brought down by the Navy Air Defense… And right now I’m being told that the Air Defense shot down another Iranian drone that hit the attack,” he said.

“As a reaction to such an unfriendly act, the Ukrainian side has decided to deprive the Iranian ambassador of his accreditation and also to significantly reduce the diplomatic staff of the Iranian embassy in Kyiv,” he said.

Iran has denied claims by Kiev and Washington that it has supplied drones to Russia, and officials in Tehran had previously said Iran was not helping either side in the war as it supported its own solution through dialogue.

Oleg Nikolenko, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, said on Twitter on Saturday that in response to the supply of weapons to Russia, we announced the cancellation of the accreditation of the Iranian ambassador in Kiev and the significant withdrawal of diplomatic personnel from the Iranian embassy.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine announced earlier that “the Chargé d’affaires of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Ukraine was summoned,” Agence France-Presse reported.

The ministry’s statement said the envoy was told that Iran’s arms supply to Russia “directly contradicts the position of neutrality, respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity” and is “an unfriendly act that will deal a serious blow to Ukraine-Iran relations.” .

Military authorities in southern Ukraine said in a statement that they had shot down four Shahed-136 “kamikaze” unmanned aerial vehicles over the sea near the port of Odesa.

The Air Force separately announced that it had brought down a larger Iranian Mohajer-6 drone for the first time, Ukrainska Pravda newspaper reported.

Earlier this week, the UK Ministry of Defense backed Ukraine’s claim that Ukrainian forces likely shot down an Iranian-made drone used by Russia.

In a military intelligence update on Wednesday, the ministry said it was “highly likely” that Russia has used Iranian-made unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in its nearly seven-month war in Ukraine.