Russia has declined to comment on US claims that Iran could supply it with ballistic missiles. Ukraine said it shot down a “rare” Iran-built drone amid a barrage of attacks overnight.
The Ukrainian Air Force said on Wednesday that it had downed more than a dozen attack drones and a cruise missile. The overnight assault followed a report by authorities in the southern region of Odesa that a rare Iranian-designed attack and reconnaissance drone had been destroyed.
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The air force said the overnight barrage was launched from southeast Russia and that a combination of air defence units in several central regions had “destroyed all 14 enemy Shahed-131/136 drones”.
“The X-22 cruise missile failed to reach its target and landed in Zaporizhia region in an open area, and the blast wave damaged private homes. There were no casualties,” it added in a statement.
Ukraine has been bracing for an increase in Russian attacks on critical infrastructure – particularly energy facilities – as subzero temperatures set in.
Russian strikes on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure last winter left many in the cold and dark for long periods. Kyiv has since received more air defence systems from its allies.
Authorities in the Odesa region said on Tuesday that they had downed a “rare” Mohajer-6 drone.
“The reconnaissance and strike UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle] was sneaking up on the Odesa region,” city officials said.
The statement on social media said Russia had purchased 30 of the drones last year and that air defence forces shot one down for the first time last September.
The Mohajer-6 is designed for reconnaissance and attack, can carry four guided missiles and has a range of up to 200km (124 miles) over 12 hours, the statement added.
Iran’s support of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has long disturbed the US. The Kremlin declined on Wednesday to comment on a suggestion by White House spokesperson John Kirby that Iran may be considering providing Russia with ballistic missiles for use in its war.
“We are developing relations with Iran, including in the field of military-technical cooperation, but we do not comment on this information,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters when asked about the accusation.
Kirby said the United States would monitor the situation between Iran and Russia and take appropriate action as needed.