Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Monday called for EU sanctions on Iran, hours after at least four people were killed in Kyiv by swarms of kamikaze drones.
Kuleba said on Twitter he “requested more air defense and supply of ammunition (and) called on (the) EU to impose sanctions on Iran for providing Russia with drones,” referring to the Iranian drones Russia has been using in Ukraine.
Meanwhile, a top adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky blamed Iran for the death of Ukrainians in Russian drone strikes.
Mikhailo Podolyak also warned that sanctions may not be enough to deter Tehran from supplying Moscow’s forces with the deadly suicide drones.
“A country that oppresses its own people is now giving (Russian) monsters weapons for mass murders in the heart of Europe,” Mikhailo Podolyak tweeted.
He said there could be no “concessions to totalitarianism.”
Last week, Zelensky said Iranian drones were also used in Russian attacks on energy infrastructure in several Ukrainian cities.
According to Ukraine, the Iranian-made drones are repainted and given Russian names before they are used in strikes across the country by Russia. Tehran has denied allegations that it has supplied the Kremlin with weapons.
Earlier Monday, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the bloc is gathering evidence about Iran’s alleged sale of drones to Russia and will respond if the allegations prove true.
“We are following very closely this use of drones. We are gathering evidence and we will be ready to react with the tools at our disposal.”
Borrell spoke after chairing a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg, where the bloc decided to slap sanctions on Iranian officials deemed responsible for the crackdown on anti-government protesters.
Borrell said that Kuleba denounced the use of drones in a speech to the ministers via video link from a bomb shelter. Borrell did not specify what kind of measures the EU would consider.
Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau said there was general agreement among EU member states on sanctioning Iran over the drones.
On Sunday, The Washington Post reported that Tehran is preparing its first delivery of short-range ballistic missiles to Moscow during the war.
Last month, Kyiv blasted Tehran for providing the attack drones to the Russian military and announced it was taking diplomatic action against the Islamic Republic, revoking its ambassador’s accreditation and ordering a significant reduction of embassy staff.
According to US Deputy Director of National Intelligence Morgan Muir, Russia has lost more than 6,000 pieces of equipment since the beginning of the war. In addition to the pressure applied by Western sanctions, Moscow is therefore forced to turn to pariah states such as North Korea and Iran for military supplies.