Iran Supplying Weapons to Russia to ‘Destroy Civilian Population’ in Ukraine, Top Kyiv Official Asserts
by Ben Cohen
Iran’s main motivation in supplying Russia with weaponry is to assist in the destruction of Ukraine’s civilian population, a top aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Thursday.
“Iran [provides] weapons in order to destroy the civilian population as much as possible,” Mykhailo Podolyak told local broadcaster Channel 24 in an interview. “Iran is doing this in its own country, so they absolutely do not care about the civilian population of Ukraine.”
Podolyak identified just four countries — Belarus, North Korea, Syria and Iran — that backed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion. However, Iran was the only one of the four to willing to share deadly military technology with Moscow for use in its onslaught against Ukraine’s population centers, Podolyak said, describing their alliance as an “axis of evil.”
Podolyak notably left China off the list of Russian allies, arguing that Beijing had been unimpressed with the performance of Russian military forces in the field.
“China, like the United States, will never bet on outsiders — countries or people who have lost,” he said.
Podolyak’s comments came amid a report from Bloomberg that was widely cited in the Ukrainian media claiming that Iran and Russia are building a new trade route to circumvent international sanctions against both countries. Marina Shagina, an expert at the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) think tank, said that Moscow and Tehran were investing up to $25 billion to speed up the delivery of goods through river and railway links that are connected to the Caspian Sea. According to Ukrainian news site Defense Express, at least 12 Iranian-flagged vessels ply the Caspian Sea between the Russian Federation and Iran on a regular basis.
Separately, a spokesperson for the Iranian regime slammed Ukraine for allegedly fabricating claims about Iran’s relationship with Moscow.
Nasser Kanaani of the Iranian foreign ministry said on Thursday that Zelensky’s democratically-elected government had repeatedly leveled “baseless accusations regarding drones…against the Islamic Republic.” Ukrainian officials have collected ample evidence of Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones and other weapons used by the Russians.
“We have always respected the territorial integrity of countries including Ukraine. Mr. Zelensky should realize that Iran’s strategic patience will not be unlimited towards unfounded accusations,” Kanaani declared.