UK diplomat issues stark warning over Putin’s military aid for Iran

Vladimir Putin says threat of nuclear weapons is 'growing'

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Vladimir Putin is attempting to buy “hundreds of ballistic missiles” from Iran and North Korea, according to Britain’s UN envoy. In return, the Kremlin is prepared to offer “unprecedented military support” as it seeks to beef up its stock of weapons. Barbara Woodward told the UN Security Council in New York that Putin’s army has used hundreds of Iranian drones and missiles to launch “illegal” attacks on civilian infrastructure.

In a stark warning, she continued: “Russia is now attempting to obtain more weapons, including hundreds of ballistic missiles.

“In return, Russia is offering Iran an unprecedented level of military and technical support.

“We’re concerned that Russia intends to provide Iran with more advanced military components, which will allow Iran to strengthen their weapons capability.”

Her comments were echoed by the UK’s Ministry of Defence in their Saturday bulletin.

The MoD’s analysts added that the Russian army had most likely used up the majority of its stock of SS-26 Iskander short range ballistic missiles.

These weapons can carry a 500kg warhead up to 500km when deployed.

The MoD warned: “If Russia succeeds in bringing a large number of Iranian ballistic missiles into service, it will likely use them to continue and expand its campaign of strikes against Ukraine’s critical national infrastructure.”

The Kremlin has since October relentlessly targeted Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.

Russia’s army has used Iranian Shahed-131 and 136 drones in many of these attacks, as it seeks to destroy morale and sow terror among the civilian population.

The strikes have deprived millions of Ukrainians of access to electricity, water, heat, and related vital services ahead of the cold winter months.

The attacks have also claimed the lives of at least 77 people, as well as injuring 272.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Tuesday that the targeting of vital civilian infrastructure was designed to install terror among the population and was in direct contravention to the laws of war.

These prohibit attacks on objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population and violence or threats, “the primary purpose of which is to spread terror among the civilian population.”

Yulia Gorbunova, a senior researcher at HRW, said: “By repeatedly targeting critical energy infrastructure knowing this will deprive civilians of access to water, heat, and health services, Russia appears to be seeking unlawfully to create terror among civilians and make life unsustainable for them.

“With the coldest winter temperatures yet to come, conditions will become more life-threatening while Russia seems intent on making life untenable for as many Ukrainian civilians as possible.”

Iran has sent its military specialists to help train the Russian army on using their killer drones.

Ukraine confirmed in November that Iranian military advisers had been killed in Crimea.

Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s national security and defence council, said the Iranians were on the peninsula to help pilot the Shahed-136 armed drones. However, he refused to reveal how many Iranians had been killed.

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Original claims about the deaths of the Iranian military specialists first appeared in a report in the Israeli press back in October.

The Israelis alleged that as many as ten Iranians had been wiped out in Ukrainian attacks.

Danilov emphasised that Ukraine would continue to target them in future strikes.

He said: “You shouldn’t be where you shouldn’t be.

“They were on our territory. We didn’t invite them here, and if they collaborate with terrorists and participate in the destruction of our nation we must kill them.”

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