Ten Iranians, training Russian soldiers, were reportedly killed in Ukrainian strikes over the past week, a Ukrainian official told KAN news on Friday.
The report comes as American and Ukrainian officials warned that Iranians are training Russians to use Iranian drones in Crimea.
The Ukrainian National Resistance Center claimed on Wednesday that Iranian instructors were overseeing the Russian launching of kamikaze drones from within annexed Ukrainian territory.
"The Russians took Iranian instructors to the territory of the temporarily occupied Kherson Region and Crimea to launch Shahed-136 kamikaze drones," the government body alleged, citing Ukrainian underground resistance. "They teach the Russians how to use kamikaze drones, and directly monitor the launch of drones on Ukrainian civilian targets, including strikes on Mykolaiv and Odesa."
Pentagon Press Secretary Brig.-Gen. Pat Ryder stated on Thursday that "Iranians have been on the ground in Ukraine to assist Russia with the drone operations there."
"We continue to see Iran be complicit in terms of exporting terror, not only in the Middle East region, but now also to Ukraine."Brig.-Gen. Pat Ryder
US State Department spokesperson Ned Price stated during a press briefing on Thursday that the Iranian trainers were operating in Crimea.
A spokesman for the Air Force of the Ukrainian Armed Forces stated on Friday that Ukraine had succeeded in downing 85% of the Iranian kamikaze drones fired by Russia, according to Ukrinform.
Suicide drones, also known as kamikaze drones and loitering munitions, are an effective tool in the ever-advancing field of drone warfare, and it seems Russia is well aware of their potential in war.
The particular drones Russia is allegedly using are the Shahed-136 drones, made by Iran and sold to Russia for use in Ukraine.
Iran asks its citizens to leave Ukraine immediately
Additionally on Friday, the Iranian Foreign Ministry advised all Iranian citizens in Ukraine to leave immediately.
The Ukrainian Defense Ministry claimed on Thursday that Iran is using Ukraine as a testing ground for its drones to prepare for future drone attacks on Israel.
"Today hundreds of Iranian drones are undergoing 'test runs' on our land, killing civilians," The Defense Ministry wrote on Twitter. "These drones were not intended for use against Ukraine. To have a strategic advantage over its enemy, Israel should conduct a 'test run' of its air defenses Ukraine is the best testing ground."