Russia has warned the United Nations not to investigate the use of drones in Ukraine, amid accusations that the weapons came from Iran and were used in violation of UN arms restrictions in the Middle Eastern country.
The United States, France and the United Kingdom called a closed-door Security Council meeting on drones after an attack in Kyiv on Monday that killed at least five people and caused widespread damage to power plants and other civilian infrastructure.
Ukraine says its military has shot down more than 220 Iranian drones, formally known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), in just over a month and has invited UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to Ukraine to inspect some of the drones. scraps you have collected.
Speaking after Wednesday’s Security Council meeting, Russia’s Deputy Ambassador to the UN Dmitry Polyanskiy insisted the weapons had been made in Russia and condemned “baseless accusations and conspiracy theories”.
He called on Guterres and his staff to “refrain from participating in any illegitimate investigation. Otherwise, we will have to reassess our collaboration with them, which is hardly in anyone’s interest,” he told reporters.
The United States and the European Union say they have evidence Iran supplied Russia with Shahed-136s, low-cost drones that explode on landing. Washington says any arms transfers contravened UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which is part of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a now-moribund deal to curb Iran’s nuclear activities and prevent the country from develop a nuclear weapon.
Tehran denies supplying the drones to Russia, and earlier this week said it was ready for “dialogue and negotiation with Ukraine to clarify these allegations” after Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Ukraine should break ties. diplomatic relations with Tehran.
On Wednesday, Iran’s envoy to the UN, Amir Saeid Iravani, rejected “baseless and baseless claims” about drone transfers and said Tehran, which has abstained from votes on the war, wanted a “peaceful resolution.” ” of the conflict, which began when Russia sent its troops to Ukraine on February 24.
Iravani said Ukraine’s invitation “has no legal basis” and called on Guterres to “prevent any misuse” of the resolution and UN officials on issues related to the Ukraine war.
“Iran firmly believes that none of its arms exports, including UAVs, to any country” violate resolution 2231, it added.
EU prepares sanctions
Under the 2015 resolution, a conventional arms embargo on Iran was in place until October 2020.
But Ukraine and its Western allies argue that the resolution still includes restrictions on missiles and related technologies until October 2023, and may cover the export and purchase of advanced military systems such as drones.
French ambassador to the UN Nicolas de Riviere said Guterres has a “clear mandate twice a year to report on all these things and do technical assessments, so I think the UN secretariat will have to go and it will go.” “.
Guterres reports twice a year to the Security Council, traditionally in June and December, on the implementation of the 2015 resolution. Any assessment of drones in Ukraine would likely be included in that report.
“As a matter of policy, we are always ready to examine any information and analyze any information that is brought to us by member states,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Wednesday.
I raised in the Security Council today the UK’s serious concerns about Russia’s use of Iranian drones to attack civilians in Ukraine.
The Iranians have denied it, but it does not stand up to scrutiny.
Council members have asked the UN to investigate. 1/2
— Ambassador James Kariuki (@JamesKariuki_UN) October 19, 2022
The EU is expected to approve drone sanctions before a summit in Brussels that starts on Thursday.
A list seen by the AFP news agency showed the 27-nation grouping would take action against three top military officials, including General Mohammad Hossein Bagheri, the chief of staff for Iran’s armed forces, as well as drone maker Shahed Aviation. Industries, an aerospace company. linked to the country’s Revolutionary Guard.
Nabila Massrali, a spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, said the bloc had “gathered our own evidence” and would prepare “a clear, swift and firm response from the EU”.