PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron urged his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi to “immediately end” Tehran’s support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which involves supplying Moscow with attack drones, the Elysee said.
Macron in a telephone call underlined the serious “security and humanitarian consequences” of Iran’s drone deliveries “and urged Tehran to immediately end the support it thus gives to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine,” said a statement.
Early Saturday, three people were killed in a fire sparked by debris from shot-down Russian drones in the Odessa region.
The call came a day after White House national security spokesman John Kirby said Russia was receiving materials from Iran to build a drone factory on its territory that “could be fully operational early next year.”
The United States has said that Russia has received hundreds of Iranian attack drones to attack Kyiv and “terrorize” Ukrainians, a charge denied by Tehran.
According to US data, the drones are built in Iran, shipped across the Caspian Sea “and then used operationally by Russian forces against Ukraine,” Kirby said.
The White House last month said Russia was looking to buy additional advanced attack drones from Iran after using up most of the 400 drones it had previously purchased from Tehran.
The Biden administration last year first publicized satellite imagery and intelligence findings that it said indicated Iran sold hundreds of attack drones to Russia. For months, officials have said the United States believed Iran was considering selling hundreds of ballistic missiles to Russia, but White House officials have said they do not have evidence a deal was consummated.
The White House has noted that Iran also has weapons flowing its way from Russia.
Iran is seeking to purchase additional military equipment from Russia, including attack helicopters, radars and YAK-130 combat trainer aircraft, according to the White House. In April, Iran announced that it had finalized a deal to buy Su-35 fighter jets from Russia.