France, Germany and Britain called Friday for the United Nations to investigate allegations that Russia is using Iranian drones for attacks in Ukraine.
A letter from the French, German and British missions to the U.N. cited “significant open-source evidence, including photographs and video, of Russia deploying Mohajer and Shahed series UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] in Ukraine.”
It says the transfer of such weapons violates U.N. Security Council resolutions.
Both Iran and Russia deny that Tehran is providing Moscow with drones.
Ukraine says Russia has used the drones to carry out so-called kamikaze attacks, in which the aircraft is intentionally crashed into a target. The strikes have been terrorizing the country, causing casualties and taking out power facilities.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, citing Ukrainian intelligence services, has alleged that Russia ordered 2,400 Shahed drones from Iran and then rebranded them as Geran-2 drones — meaning "geranium" in Russian.
The drones pack an explosive charge and can linger over targets before nosediving into them. They are relatively cheap, costing about $20,000.
Some Ukrainians say they fear the drone attacks could become commonplace as Russia tries to avoid depleting its stockpiles of precision long-range missiles.
The United States, Britain and France – all permanent members of the U.N. Security Council – have recently said that Iran is violating U.N. Security Council resolution 2231 by providing drones to Russia. The U.N. resolution endorsed the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and six world powers.
The U.S. Thursday alleged Iranian military personnel are "on the ground" in Ukraine, assisting the Russian military with drone operations.
"Our understanding is that they [Iranian forces] are on the ground in Crimea, assisting Russian military personnel as they conduct these drone operations in Ukraine," Pentagon press secretary Brigadier General Pat Ryder told reporters.
When asked about Russia denying it uses Iran-made drones, Ryder responded, "It's obvious that they're lying” and charged Tehran with "exporting terror, not only in the Middle East region but now also to Ukraine."