Jul 11, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Iran set to supply Russia with armed drones, Sullivan says

Photo of Jake Sullivan speaking from a podium
White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan talks to reporters at the White House on July 11, 2022 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Monday that the Biden administration believes Iran is planning to deliver Russia "up to several hundred" unmanned aerial vehicles, including weapons-capable drones, for its invasion of Ukraine.

Why it matters: It's the first time the administration has publicly accused Iran of helping Russia's war effort in Ukraine. Sullivan's comments come on the eve of President Biden’s trip to Israel and Saudi Arabia for talks that will also focus on countering Iran.

What he's saying: "Our information indicates that the Iranian government is preparing to provide Russia with up to several hundred UAVs, including weapons-capable UAVs on an expedited timeline," he said at a White House briefing.

  • "Our information further indicates that Iran is preparing to train Russian forces to use these UAVs with initial training sessions slated to begin as soon as early July."
  • Sullivan said it's proof that Russia's efforts to overtake Ukraine are "coming at a cost to the sustainment of its own weapons."
  • It's just "one example of how Russia is looking to countries like Iran for capabilities that ... have been used before we got the ceasefire in place in Yemen, to attack Saudi Arabia," he noted.

The big picture: Russian President Vladimir Putin has claimed that Western support for Ukraine would only prolong the war.

Go deeper