Ukraine boots Iranian ambassador over Tehran’s support for ‘Russian Nazism’

Kyiv strips accreditation for envoy, orders staff reduction at Iranian embassy to protest country supplying Moscow with attack drones used for ‘the murder of peaceful citizens’

A screenshot of an Iranian Shahed-129 combat drone. (YouTube/Future Technology of Military)
Illustrative: A screenshot of an Iranian Shahed-129 combat drone. (YouTube/Future Technology of Military; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

Ukraine castigated Iran on Friday for providing 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.

In a statement, the Foreign Ministry in Kyiv said that “supplying Russia with weapons to wage war against Ukraine is an unfriendly act that deals a serious blow to Ukraine-Iran relations.”

Earlier in the day, Ukraine said a civilian was killed during a Russian attack on the southern port city of Odesa that featured an Iranian-made drone.

A spokesman for Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, Sergii Nykyforov, wrote on Facebook: “The use of Iranian-made weapons by Russian troops… are steps taken by Iran against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our state, as well as against the life and health of Ukrainian citizens.”

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry tweeted that Tehran was now a supporter of “Russian Nazism and the murder of peaceful citizens.”

It added that the military had destroyed six Iranian kamikaze drones Friday and including footage of one such hit.

US intelligence publicly warned back in July that Tehran planned to send hundreds of bomb-carrying drones to Russia to aid its war on Ukraine. While Iran initially denied it, the head of the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard has boasted in recent days about arming the world’s top powers.

Earlier this month, a Ukrainian military official, as well as a pro-Ukrainian army website closely associated with the military, published images of the wreckage of what they said was a downed Iranian drone. It resembled a triangle, or delta-shaped, drone flown by Iran known as the Shahed, or “Witness” in Farsi.

Iran has multiple versions of the Shahed, which have overflown a US aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf, been used by Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen, attacked oil depots in Saudi Arabia, and allegedly killed two sailors aboard an oil tanker off Oman in 2021. The triangle-shaped Shahed is believed to have a range of around 2,000 kilometers (1,240 miles), though Iran has offered few details.

Experts refer to such bomb-carrying drones as “loitering munitions.” The drone flies to a destination, likely programmed before its flight, and either explodes in the air over the target or on impact against it.

Iran has drawn closer to Russia as it faces crushing sanctions over the collapse of the nuclear deal in 2018 after then-US president Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the accord. Negotiations over the deal, which saw Iran limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for sanctions being lifted, again appear deadlocked.

Ukraine and Iran also have tense relations, stemming from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard shooting down a Ukrainian passenger jet in 2020, killing all 176 people on board.

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