Air Defense Is A Top Priority For Ukraine As Russia Continues Attacks

Explosive-laden suicide drones struck Kyiv Monday morning with weapons possibly from Iran — a partnership John Kirby says is concerning.
Posted at 9:10 PM, Oct 17, 2022

Ukrainian officials reported a barrage of Iranian suicide drones on Kyiv in Russia's latest attack nearly eight months into the war.

The U.S embassy in Kyiv called the Monday morning attacks desperate and reprehensible and vowed to stand with Ukraine.

Ukrainian officials previously reported the Russians may have brought Iranian instructors to occupied regions to train the Russians on the weapons.

In a wide-ranging interview with Newsy following Russia's widespread attacks in Ukraine last week, National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby said no nation should be helping Russia in this war.

NEWSY'S HALEY BULL: Do you see this as an escalation on Iran's parts to have boots on the ground in those occupied regions?

JOHN KIRBY: I'd rather not talk about these particular reports, but I would just say that, obviously, it's concerning if any nation would be providing any kind of material or training support to Russia in the context of this war, helping them fight this war.

That includes the decision by OPEC+ to cut oil production, which the Biden administration sees as helping Putin raise more money to fight the war.

Now U.S. officials are re-evaluating the decades-long relationship with Saudi Arabia.

BULL: At this point, in wake of this decision, what does the communication look like between the administration and the Saudis?

KIRBY: We still have diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia, I mean, there's still obviously open channels of communication. We still believe that this was a short-sighted decision. We believe that it benefits Vladimir Putin.

But, it's a complex region.

KIRBY: ... That is no stranger to threats and challenges, not least of which is... what Iran is doing with their ballistic missile program.

Meanwhile, air defense remains a top priority for Ukraine. 

KIRBY: The threat is clearly from the air more than anything right now, as the Ukrainians continue to make gains in the Northeast and in the South. So, we will evolve those capabilities with that as well.

The U.S. committed $725 million more in security help over the weekend.