Iran has sent military trainers to Crimea to train Russian troops using drones

The envoy said the right to peaceful protest must be respected after Hong Kong protests were attacked and one person was attacked.

Iran has sent military personnel to Russian-occupied territory inside Crimea to train and advise the Russian military on the use of Iranian-made drones that Moscow has used to crush its war in Ukraine, according to two sources familiar with US intelligence. Russia has launched many of what it believes to be an arsenal of hundreds of Iranian-made drones from Crimea in attacks targeting Ukrainian cities and energy infrastructure in increasing numbers in recent weeks. Drones have been seen as a signal of increasing closeness between Tehran and Moscow.

CNN has contacted the Iranian mission at the United Nations for comment. The State Department's top deputy spokesman Vedant Patel said Tuesday that the "deepening" of relations between Moscow and Tehran should be seen as a "grave threat." The Daily Mirror first reported the coach's presence in Ukraine. It was not immediately clear how many coaches traveled to Crimea and whether they remained. A source briefed on US intelligence said "dozens" of Iranian personnel had been dispatched.

US officials say that when Russia first started testing and deploying drones in Ukraine in August, many of them had multiple failures. Russian operators have trained the system inside Iran, but Iranian personnel have started traveling to Crimea in recent weeks to help Russia operate the system and try to fix their problems.

Tehran has provided two types: the Shaheds, which explode on impact and have a range of more than 1,000 miles, and the Mohajer-6, which can both carry missiles and be used for surveillance.

US officials have seen Russia's reliance on these Iranian drones - particularly the Shaheds - as evidence that Russia is struggling to replenish its original ammunition stockpile after an eight-month salvo of missiles and Western sanctions regimes that the US believes have cut off Moscow. of the components needed for the new weapon. Iran has denied sending drones to Russia.

Patel said the United States would "continue to take practical and aggressive steps to make it difficult to sell these weapons, including sanctions, export control measures against any entities involved."

A US official told CNN that on Wednesday, the US, France and the UK plan to discuss the transfer of an Iranian drone to Russia during a closed-door UN Security Council meeting.

The US, France and the UK have said that sending Iranian-made drones to Russia violates UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which limits the transfer of certain weapons to or from Iran. It is not clear whether they will raise this specific point in Wednesday's meeting or move to lift sanctions on Iran for arms transfers again.

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