Russia looking to Iran to supply drones “speaks volumes” about the isolation of both nations from the international community and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “problems in terms of replenishing his own defense needs,” National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications John Kirby told CNN’s Becky Anderson on Thursday.
“Russia turning to Iran for the help speaks volumes about the degree to which both nations, for their actions into different areas of the world, have been increasingly isolated by the international community,” Kirby said.
Newly declassified US intelligence indicates that Iran is expected to supply Russia with "hundreds" of drones — including weapons-capable drones — for use in the war in Ukraine, with Iran preparing to begin training Russian forces on how to operate them as early as late July, according to White House officials.
“We know the sanctions are biting; we know the export controls are biting. We know his ability to replenish munitions and now UAVs are limited because of the pressure that the rest of the world is putting on Mr. Putin,” Kirby added.
“Clearly, they have the domestic production capability. I don't know the parameters of the deal that Mr. Putin struck; I can't speak with specificity about how well Iran will be able to step up to this requirement,” Kirby said.
Kirby said that Biden’s “preferred option” with Iran still remains diplomatic, but the US “will not take any option off the table.”