France has called for a United Nations investigation into whether Iran supplies some of the drones Russia uses in Ukraine.
“We hope that the UN experts will go on the ground and collect the traces of these drones and tell them where they came from. That is part of their mandate, they report twice a year and it has to be done,” French UN Ambassador Nicolas de Rivière told reporters in New York on Friday.
Russia has carried out a series of drone strikes across Ukraine in recent weeks, attacking civilian infrastructure and sowing terror in Ukrainian cities far from the front lines of the war.
Attacks have increased since the summer, according to the US and Kiev, when Moscow acquired suicide drones from Iran.
However, Iran has denied supplying Russia with weapons and has accused the West of waging a disinformation campaign against it. Russia has also denied using Iranian drones, calling the claims “unsubstantiated inferences” and “far-fetched assumptions”.
The French ambassador rejected these denials, saying that “nobody pays attention to them” and that “the facts are clear”.
France considers Russia’s use of drones in Ukraine to be a “gross violation of international humanitarian law and international law,” and has said it has also gone against a UN resolution on Iran’s nuclear program.
His comments came after a UN Security Council meeting on the situation in Ukraine, at the request of France and Mexico.
CNN reported Tuesday that Iran has sent military personnel into the Russian-occupied interior of Crimea to train and advise the Russian military on the use of its drones, according to two sources familiar with U.S. intelligence.
Suicide drones are a type of aerial weapon system. They are known as lag munitions because they are able to wait for some time in an area identified as a potential target and only strike after identifying an enemy asset.
They are small, portable and easy to launch, but their main advantage is that they are difficult to detect and can be fired from a distance.
According to Ukrainian authorities, Russia has ordered 2,400 Shahed-136 drones from Iran and is modifying and using the Shahed under the name “Geran”.
U.S. officials say there has already been “some evidence” that Iranian drones have had “numerous failures” on the battlefield.
French Ambassador de Rivière said Moscow was changing its tactics and targeting civilian infrastructure because “the Russian army has problems on the ground.”
“That’s why Russia has decided to increase the pressure on Ukrainian civilians to destroy energy facilities, hospitals, schools. Many Ukrainian cities have been targeted by Russian artillery. This clearly needs to stop.
“So here we are, we have to talk, we have to discuss, we have to put an end to this war,” said de Rivière, “and the sooner the better.”
Hours later on Saturday, nearly 1,000 homes in the southern Ukrainian town of Nikopol in the Dnipropetrovsk region were without power after Russian bombing cut power lines overnight, according to Governor Valentin Reznichenko. The city of Khmelnytskyi in western Ukraine also reported losing power after a series of explosions.
Ukraine’s Ministry of Digital Transformation said air sirens had been activated across the country in all regions except Russia-annexed Crimea.
The governor of Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine said the rockets were seen “probably lit”. [their way] To the west and central Ukraine.’
The governor of Chernihiv in northern Ukraine also warned residents of the “rocket threat”.
And in western Ukraine, the army chief of Khmelnytskyi region asked residents to stay indoors after reports of explosions.