Oct 18 (Reuters) – Russia’s dependence on Iranian-made drones to attack Ukrainian targets exposes Russia as bankrupt both politically and militarily, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Tuesday.
Using Iranian weaponry amounted to an acknowledgement of failure for Moscow, after decades of funding the Soviet and post-Soviet defence industry, he added.
Ukraine says Russia’s latest attacks on infrastructure have relied on Iranian-made Shahed-136 “kamikaze” drones.
Iran denies supplying unmanned aerial vehicles to Russia — an assertion Washington says is untrue. The Kremlin on Tuesday said it had no information about whether or not Iranian “kamikaze” drones were used.
“Let us bear in mind that the very fact that Russia has sought help from Iran is an admission by the Kremlin that it is bankrupt in military and political terms,” Zelenskiy said in a nightly video address.
“For decades, they spent billions of dollars on their own military industrial complex. And in the end, they bowed down to Tehran in order to secure quite simple drones and missiles.”
Zelenskiy, who says the most recent strikes have put 30 percent of Ukraine’s power stations out of action, said using the weapons might generate hopes and illusions among Russian leaders, but would still be of no help.
“It will simply show the world once again that Russia is headed for defeat and is trying to drag yet another one of its accomplices into this terror,” he said.
(Reporting by Ronald Popeski; Editing by David Ljunggren and Alistair Bell)