US aiding Ukraine to stifle Iranian drone strikes - NYT

US efforts will focus on preventing Iran from producing the “Kamikaze” drones Russia has been using against Ukraine and training Ukrainian forces to combat the drones.

 Iranian-made Shahed-136 exploding UAVs prepared for launch as part of an exercise in Iran in December 2021. (photo credit: OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT)
Iranian-made Shahed-136 exploding UAVs prepared for launch as part of an exercise in Iran in December 2021.
(photo credit: OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT)

The Biden Administration has launched a campaign to constrict Iran’s drone supply chain that is being used to deliver drones to Russia for use in the Ukrainian frontlines, intelligence, military and national security officials told the New York Times Wednesday.

US efforts will focus on preventing Iran from producing the “Kamikaze” drones Russia has been using against Ukraine. Iranian officials admitted to transferring a "limited amount" of drones to Russia before it invaded Ukraine in November.

National Security Council Spokesperson Adrienne Watson said the US was “looking at ways to target” Iranian drone production “through sanctions, export controls, and talking to private companies whose parts have been used in the production.”

The report also added that the US will give Ukraine’s military the capacity to shoot the unmanned aerial vehicles down, as well as target launch sites used by the Russian military.

 DEBRIS FLIES during a Russian drone strike, with what local authorities said was Iranian-made Shahed-136 UAVs, in Kyiv, Ukraine, Oct. 17.  (credit: Roman Petushkov/Reuters) DEBRIS FLIES during a Russian drone strike, with what local authorities said was Iranian-made Shahed-136 UAVs, in Kyiv, Ukraine, Oct. 17. (credit: Roman Petushkov/Reuters)

“We are assessing further steps we can take in terms of export controls to restrict Iran’s access to technologies used in drones,” declared Watson.

Iranian drones aiding Russia’s invasion

Russia has been using Iranian-made “Kamikaze” drones to attack Ukrainian energy sources and infrastructure ahead of the start of winter. Ukrainians have reported the drones flying in pairs and then smashing into targets, as the aptly-named drones explode on impact.

In November, the United States imposed sanctions on companies and individuals accused of involvement in the production or transfer of Iranian drones used by Russia in attacks against Ukraine.

Ukrainian presidential aide Mykhailo Podolyak said Monday that the Iran-Russia drone trade "blatantly humiliates the institution of international sanctions" and called for further steps – namely, the “liquidation” of Iranian drone facilities.

Ukrainian sources told Business Insider in early December that Russia recently paused the operation of Kamikaze drones, as the Ukrainian winter conditions render the drones useless.